Here you can identify cacti, like leaf cacti, columnar cacti, tropical cacti or ball cacti.

What are cacti?

Cacti are, botanically speaking, plants from the cactus family (Cactaceae). There are about 1800 species of cacti, almost all of which come from the so-called New World, i.e. from North, Central or South America. Only Rhipsalis baccifera, a close relative of the popular Christmas cactus, was found growing naturally also in Africa, Madagascar and India (source).

Cacti are not only fascinating because of their magnificent flowers, but also because of their sometimes unusual growth. Some grow ball-shaped, others columnar. But there are also species that form leaf-like cactus limbs or look like shrubs.

Among the cacti there are giants that can grow several meters high. The members of the genus Frailea, however, reach only a few centimeters in height.

Most cacti have succulent (water-storing) properties and are adapted to survive in regions with low precipitation. But not only dry areas are colonized by them. Cacti are also native to tropical forests. These include, for example, the Easter cactus and the Christmas cactus. The two closely related species originate from Brazil and live there growing on trees, they are so-called epiphytes.

Epiphytic growing plants are not parasites, they do not feed on the trees they grow on.

Besides epiphytes, among cacti there are also some lithophytes. They grow on rocks or other stones.