How To Tell What Cactus I Have

The physical characteristics of each cactus should be used as a starting point when distinguishing one from another. Some distinguishing physical characteristics to watch for are:

The Leaves

One essential aspect you may want to consider is the cactus plant’s leaves. Do your plants have any spines? You can determine this by examining their leaves. A leaf with spines will have needle-like, sharp edges, while a leaf without spines will have rounded edges. The colour and shape of your cacti plant’s leaves can also provide useful information.

Chlorophyll and carotenoids, which are photosynthetic pigments, can be used to determine the colour of leaves. Carotenoids give the plants their characteristic colours, whereas chlorophyll is in charge of receiving light energy from the sun and storing it as chemical energy.

Your cactus plant type may also be determined by the shape of the leaves. Succulent plants often have spines and needle-like leaves, whereas flat-leaved plants are typically stronger in nature since they can endure severe situations better. For instance, the leaves of a barrel cactus grow straight, whereas the leaves of a saguaro cactus are flat.

Similar to the shape and colour, the different needle styles can also be used to identify the type of cacti you have, albeit the results are not always reliable. The more hardy and leafy kinds will typically have flat spines, whilst the more succulent and squishy forms would typically have needle-like spines.

How high can they grow?

When determining the type of cactus you have, you might also want to consider its height. Because plants that thrive at higher elevations typically have longer roots than those that do not, height and altitude can be utilised as a determining factor when choosing your plant type. The Saguaro Cactus, which may often reach heights of 50 feet, is the tallest of all succulents. Hedgehog and pereskia, on the other hand, are little kinds that rarely grow taller than six inches. You can tell what kind of cactus plant you have by just measuring the height of the plant.

Shape and coloration

When there are no spines or leaves to go by, a cactus’ shape and colour can also be utilised to determine its type. Shape typically gives some hints about the plant’s requirements for the climate, which in turn may give more information about the nature of the plant.

Although there are so many different kinds of cactus that you can identify, you might not be able to do so just by looking at it because of its colour. Another spiny variety may have a green-brown body, whereas a white-spined barrel cactus may have green. The dwarf saguaro’s yellowish hue stands out sharply from, for example, the brown spines on a barbed wire cactus.

As you can see, there are a lot of physical characteristics to watch out for that could reveal what species of cactus plant your plants are. One piece of advice is to explore further if you notice something peculiar or unusual about a particular species because it might be what you’ve been looking for.

How are its flowering style and pattern?

The way a plant blooms is another physical characteristic that will reveal whether it is a terrestrial or epiphytic plant. While terrestrial plants have roots and require direct connection to soil, epiphytes are plants that thrive in humid regions with little soil contact and depend on other plants for nutrition.

Another sign of a cactus’ kind is the way its flowers are arranged. The saguaro and barrel both feature radial patterns, while the hedgehog is another plant with radial patterns but more elongated ones. A species that forms columns, like the cardon, may have vertical stripes or zigzags with contrasting colour patterns.

The most likely form of cactus you have is a cardon if it is columnar and has vertical stripes of contrasting colours. On the other hand, if your cactus has radial patterns and spines, it is probably either the barrel or saguaro type.

Although it’s not always reliable, the colour of the flowers might also give you a hint about what kind of cactus your plant is. For instance, a hedgehog may have yellow blooms, or a kind of flower with a red top may be a cardon.

What about the seeds?

Depending on their environment, different cactus species generate different seeds. For instance, the Saguaro cactus produces smaller, fleshier seed pods, whereas the hedgehog produces much larger, spiky fruit. While the cardon is known to produce seeds that are round and glossy, some varieties, like the barrel cactus, will have a more oval or spherical appearance.

These various seed pod varieties can provide you hints about the kind of cactus you might grow in your garden. Perhaps after a lengthy development period, your plant that you’ve had for a while isn’t blossoming or generating any flowers? Even before planting, it may be quite beneficial to look at the seeds, since they might provide important details about the type of plant. If your cactus isn’t flowering or generating any flowers over a lengthy time of growth, it may not be blossoming due to its type or the climatic circumstances that type loves. Different cactus species generate different seed pods.

Is there a cactus identification app?

The best app for identifying flowers, cacti, succulents, and mushrooms is called PlantSnapi. The programme searches through a database of more than 600,000 plants using image recognition software that is powered by machine learning.


Software for automatic pattern recognition powers this. It states that it can detect 99 percent of common species with an accuracy rating of 95 percent. The app’s searchable database also includes more than 10,000 species.

Researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution created Leafsnap. It employs visual recognition software to distinguish between different tree species based on how their leaves look. The app now features trees located in the northern United States and Canada.

What three varieties of cactus are there?

Thanksgiving cactus, Christmas cactus, and Easter cactus are the three popular holiday cacti, each of which is called after the season in which its blooms occur. All three are straightforward to cultivate and have comparable growth patterns and maintenance needs.

Today’s holiday cactus variations are available in magenta, pink, scarlet, as well as yellow, white, orange, purple, salmon, and apricot, however these well-known cacti are typically only available in red-hued hues. The Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti are tropical rain forest species, while the Easter cactus is indigenous to Brazil’s natural woods. All three are endemic to Brazil.

Succulent IdentificationWhy It Matters

When you adore succulents, it becomes crucial to know their names at some time. The correct identification of succulents, as I have discussed before, can actually mean the difference between life and death! Despite having quite diverse traits, many varieties of succulents may have the same common name or a comparable look. Their ability to weather the winter makes a difference sometimes. A misidentification of a succulent could result in plants that have died from the cold. Some succulents, though, are poisonous to kids and dogs. Pets and young children can safely consume Sedum morganianum, however Euphorbia myrsinites is extremely hazardous. To protect your family and plants, take care to understand how to identify the types of succulents you have.

Recognizing Different Types of Succulents

A succulent plant is any plant that holds water in its leaves, stems, or roots. The appearances of many types vary greatly from one another. Succulent varieties can, however, seem quite alike. Two genera that are frequently mistaken for one another are Echeveria and Sempervivum. Hens and chicks is the popular name for both. Each plant forms a substantial rosette, giving them a similar appearance. They replicate similarly, each creating offsets. The young succulents that emerge at the base and spread out next to the main rosette are known as succulent offsets. But while the other perishes with just one freeze, the first survives at temperatures much below zero.

You will eventually be able to identify more varieties of succulents solely by appearance. Even if you are now unable to distinguish between a Sempervivum and an Echeveria, if you keep looking and looking for the differences, eventually you will be able to. Sounds strange, I realise. However, just as you are aware of your own child, even when they are surrounded by other children, Or perhaps you are only familiar with your own cat. One skill we all have is the ability to notice subtle differences. Simply said, we employ this expertise in a variety of ways. Perhaps you can identify the differences between 1960s muscle vehicles. I can distinguish between wolves and coyotes. Some people can easily tell a Cabernet from a different vintage apart, or they can recognise different bird species by their cries. Succulent identification only requires practise.

In the image above, there is one obvious difference between Sempervivum and Echeveria. Do you see how the sempervivum’s leaf border is covered in a plethora of tiny hairs? Those hairs are ciliates. A ring of minute hairs called ciliate (SILL-ee-uht) hairs extends along the… They gather dew for the plant in its desert environment. Sempervivum has few echeveriado, but these ciliate hairs. Most likely, your plant is not an Echeveria if the margins are covered in microscopic hairs. (The leaves of fuzzy echeveria are covered in fine hairs.)

Identifying SucculentsNote Characteristics

Another frequent query in identifying succulents is how to differentiate between Aeonium and Echeveria. Additionally, certain Aeonium feature ciliate hairs. The stems of Aeonium and Echeveria, however, are another difference. Echeveria rosettes generally develop close to the soil surface, like Sempervivum. However, aeonium develops long, branching, woody stems with rosettes at each terminal.

Look for the details to tell apart various succulent varieties. As we’ve seen, some types have smooth leaves while others have ciliate hairs along the leaf margins. Observe the leaf thickness as well. The leaves of Echeveria are generally thicker than those of Sempervivum or Aeonium, but not as thick as those of Graptopetalum. Here are a few plant traits to consider when determining whether a plant is a succulent:

How can you distinguish a cactus from a succulent?

Spines are a distinguishing feature of cacti when you carefully examine each type of plant. Areoles, which are present on cacti, are the origin of spines, prickles, leaves, stalks, or flowers. These are spherical and have hairy tiny structures called trichomes all around them. Additionally, they could have glochids, which are tiny spines.

Other varieties of succulents are not cacti since they do not generate areoles. The plant’s native range is another indicator of whether it is a succulent or cactus. While cacti are restricted to the western hemisphere, especially North and South America, succulents are found almost everywhere. Mountains, deserts, and rain forests can all support cacti growth. Succulents may grow in practically any environment. In addition, succulents have thicker leaves than cacti, which have few or none at all.

PlantNet app is it free?

You get what you paid for with PlantNet. Although it is a free app that works with both iPhone and Android, its functions are a little disjointed. The Contributions page is the initial section of PlantNet. This page functions like a social media site by displaying the plants that other users have identified. Although the idea of a plant social network is exciting, PlantNet’s implementation of it is a little unclear. I couldn’t determine if these were folks in my neighbourhood, people who selected the same category, or just app users.

You can focus your search on the location where you found the plant when trying to identify it. Although that initially appears helpful, the choices are a little ad hoc. Useful Plants, Canadian, and Guadeloupe Plants are only a few of the categories.

They find that a white background is ideal for the plant identification system they employ. It accurately identified a mint leaf when I used it to do so, however Mint Plant was the third or fourth choice, not the first. The identification system is effective, but it won’t help you if you want to identify a plant in the field or while travelling.

The Explore Page, which gives you access to an alphabetical list of all the plants in the category you choose at the start, is the best feature of the programme. PlantNet is ideal if you wish to read and learn about the various plant species that fall under particular categories.

The most expensive and most beneficial app on our list is PlantSnap. Any user who decides to buy it will be welcomed by the interface’s brightness and friendliness. It enables you to take a picture and send it for identification, just as other plant identification apps. PlantSnaps makes it easy to identify plants and gives you details about the selected plant as well as alternative plant identifications. The entire procedure takes less than five minutes.

The unique way that PlantSnap searches is what sets it apart. PlantSnap allows you to search for plants by name, unlike the majority of plant identification applications that just allow you to send a picture and receive information. Anyone who gets it for their iPhone or Android device can use it to become an authority on all things plant-related!

The necessity of signing up is PlantSnap’s lone flaw, in my opinion. You must first register by providing an email address and password in order to access the app. Other than that, if you don’t mind spending $3.99 for it, this app is a great tool for identifying plants.

FlowerChecker makes things incredibly simple for the user for just $0.99. It is the easiest software on this list in comparison to the others. The app will help you identify the plant and will also provide any additional information you need. They might ask a precise inquiry when you send a picture of the plant because a botanist receives it. This app is for you if all you want is to have your question answered.

It can take up to a day to receive a solution, despite the fact that this app is wonderful because you get a real botanist to answer your particular queries. The software provides you three free “coins” when you initially launch it, which you can then use to purchase identifications. Each identity is one coin in price. There are other programmes that give you endless identifications, albeit you can purchase extra. Find FlowerChecker in the App Store or Google Play Store for $0.99 if you’re ready to wait and want your inquiries addressed.

The only platform for which Leafsnap is available is the iPhone. The software is simple to use, however the design in general feels a little old.

Its features include a browse area with pictures of the leaves and scientific and common names. It saves your prior identifications in a manner similar to the other apps described. Unfortunately, Leafsnap has a limited range of sites where you can identify plants. The app includes New York, Washington, D.C., the Northeast United States, and Canada as locations. Another drawback of Leafsnap is that you have to photograph the leaf on a white piece of paper before you can identify it. You might not always have a white sheet of paper to place a leaf on for this app if you’re outside in a garden. I also had trouble getting precise answers when I was trying to identify flora. The top match is not offered to you by Leafsnap, unlike the other applications.

When seeking for an image-based directory of various leaves, Leafsnap is a good tool to use, but its identifying features are obsolete and challenging to use. Leafsnap is a wonderful option if you simply want a good list of leaf kinds with both common and scientific names. Pick one of the other apps on this list if you’re seeking for a reliable plant identification app.

Another exclusive iPhone app is called NatureGate. The identification process on NatureGate is simplified and offers additional ways to grow your app.

In comparison to other apps, NatureGate’s identification procedure is very different. Instead than just taking a picture, you may narrow down the list of plants by entering the colour, number of petals, leaf shape, and environment. Once you’ve reached that list, you may use details like location, flowering month, flower shape, and plant height to further focus your search. There are only two options in the app: Identify and Search. You don’t feel like you are missing out on anything despite the limited possibilities. Like the other applications discussed in this essay, NatureGate also remembers your search history. Through NatureGate, you can purchase in-app items to learn how to recognise additional elements of the natural world, such as fish, butterflies, and birds.

The simplest app on this list, NatureGate, is yet excellent. NatureGate is the ideal choice if you want a quick approach to recognise programmes without any further features.