What makes it a cactus?

In science plants on February 13, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Unusual cactus with areoles at tips of leaves

aerole with spines on candlestick cactus

aereoles with many spines on echinocereus

0.5 cm young cactus plant

Gymnocalycium with old flower at the areole

Euphorbia – not a cactus!

Cactaceae is the plant family of cactuses, cacti, or cactus. You can correctly use either of the three plural forms, but please don’t call it captus!
This post is about one of the characteristics that all of the cactaceae possess. The areole. All cacti have them, and no other plant does. It is the area from which its spines radiate and flowers are born.
Many plants may look like cacti because they are fleshy and thorny, but they cannot be in the cactus family without the areole. Other plants, such as the Christmas cactus, do not look very cactus like, but look closely and you can see the bloom emerging from a very reduced areole. Check out the pictures and see if you can spot the areole.


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