Cactus Facts for Kids
- Common Name: Cactus, Cacti
- Taxonomy Order: Caryophyllales
- Taxonomy Family: Cactaceae
- Taxonomy Genera: 127+
- Total Species: 1,750+
- Distribution: North America, South America, Africa and Asia
21 Cactus Facts for Kids
- Cactus is the name of plant that is the member of the plant family Cactaceae.
- The Cactaceae plant family contains over 1,750 species of cacti.
- The 1,750 species of cacti belong to one of 127 genera in the Cactaceae plant family.
- The 1,750 species of cacti belong to one of two subfamilies, Opuntioideae or Cactoideae.
- A cactus is typically green, but some species have a green-bluish or green-brownish color.
- Cacti are known for their sharp spines and ability to survive in very dry environments.
- The spines of a cactus help protect it from animals. The spines also reduce airflow around the surface of the cactus and provide some shade, which reduces the loss of water from evaporation.
- A cactus is classified as a succulent plant, which means it can store large amounts of water.
- As a succulent plant, a cactus can store water and thrive in very hot and dry climates, like a desert.
- The flowers and spines on a cactus can vary in color and size by species.
- Cacti are found in North America, South America, Africa and a small part of Asia.
- All species of cacti are found in either North America or South America, except for mistletoe cactus (Rhipsalis baccifera), which are found in Africa and a small part of Asia.
- Cacti come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
- The largest living cactus is the elephant cactus (Pachycereus pringlei).
- The elephant cactus has an average height of 30 feet. There have been verified specimens of the elephant cactus that have reached a height of 60 feet.
- The smallest living cactus is the Blossfeldia liliputiana.
- The Blossfeldia liliputiana cactus on average has a diameter between 0.39 and 0.47 inch. The flowers of the Blossfeldia liliputiana cactus on average have a diameter between 0.19 and 0.27 inch.
- The lifespan of a cactus varies by species and ranges between 15 and 300 years.
- No fossils of cacti have yet to be discovered by archeologists. Estimates of when cacti evolved range between 5 million years ago and 145 million years ago. For now, it’s all theory as to when cacti first appeared on our planet.
- Cacti are a popular ornament plant and many species are grown indoors and outdoors by humans.
- Some species of cacti can produce hallucinations due to psychoactive agents they produce.
Pictures of Cacti
A picture of a cactus pear (Opuntia ficus-indica).
A picture of saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea).
A picture of a variety of different cactus species.
A close-up picture of a cactus and its thorns.
A close-up picture of a cactus flower.
A picture of a bunch of cactus house plants.
Find More Facts About Cacti
- Cacti and Succulents – Discover different cacti and succulent species on the Southern Illinois Univerity website.
- Cacti – Learn about cacti on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website.
- How Many Types Of Cactus Are There? – Read this article on the Cactus Way website to learn how many types of cactus exist.
- Cactus – Britannica – Find more facts about cacti on the Britannica website.