What Is The Definition Of A Succulent Plant

Any plant that has fleshy, thick tissues that can store water is considered succulent. Some succulents, like cacti, only store water in the stem and have no or few leaves, but other succulents, like agaves, primarily store water in the leaves. The majority of succulents are endemic to deserts or areas with a semiarid season and have deep or wide root systems. More than 60 plant families have succulent species, with the Aizoaceae, Cactaceae, and Crassulaceae having the highest proportions. Aloe, Echeveria, Kalanchoe, and other plants are among those that are grown as ornamentals and indoor plants.

The timing of the opening of stomata, which are tiny mouthlike structures on the surface of plant leaves and stems, is one adaptation shared by many succulents. Stomata enable the exchange of water and oxygen with the environment as well as the uptake of carbon dioxide from the environment. The stomata of many succulent plants are closed during the day and open at night, in contrast to those of most plants. As a result, less water loss (transpiration) happens during the hot, dry daylight hours, while carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake takes place at night. As a result, these succulent plants display crassulacean acid metabolism, a modified form of CO2 fixation and photosynthesis.

What distinguishes a succulent plant or leaf?

Succulent plants are by definition drought-resistant plants with extra-fleshy leaves, stems, or roots due to the growth of water-storing tissue.

[4] According to another source, a plant with thick, meaty, and swollen stems and/or leaves that is adapted to dry settings does not include roots.

[5] The distinction has an impact on how succulents and “geophytes”—plants that endure bad seasons as resting buds on a subterranean organ—relate to one another.

[6] The underground organs, including bulbs, corms, and tubers, are frequently fleshy and contain tissues that store water. Therefore, many geophytes would fall under the category of succulents if roots were included in the definition. Xerophytes are plants that have evolved to survive in dry conditions, such as succulents. Not all xerophytes, however, have succulent leaves because there are various methods to adapt to a lack of water, such as by growing little leaves that can roll up or by having leathery leaves instead of succulent ones. [7] Additionally, not all succulents are xerophytes; for example, Crassula helmsii is a plant that is both aquatic and succulent. [8]

Succulent hobby growers might use the term differently than botanists do. The term “succulent” is frequently used in horticulture to exclude cactus. Cacti are not included in Jacobsen’s three volume Handbook of Succulent Plants, for instance. [9] Cacti and succulents are frequently used as the title of books that discuss how to grow these plants. [10] [11] [12] Cacti are, nonetheless, classified as succulents in botanical terminology,[4] but many succulent plants are not cacti. Cacti are the only plants with real spines, and they exclusively exist in the New World (the Americas). In contrast, similar-looking plants without spines originated in completely separate plant families in the Old World through parallel evolution. [Reference needed]

The fact that plant families can contain both succulent and non-succulent species makes generic identification more challenging. There is a distinct progression in many genera and families from plants with thin leaves and regular stalks to those with very visibly swollen and fleshy leaves or stems. When separating plants into genera and families, the succulent characteristic is irrelevant. The same species may be categorized differently by different sources. [13]

Horticulturists frequently adhere to commercial traditions and may omit other plant species, including bromeliads, which are scientifically categorized as succulents.

[14] Without taking into account scientific classifications, a practical definition of horticulture has evolved into “a succulent plant is any desert plant that a succulent plant collector chooses to grow.” [15] Customers will typically recognize “succulent” plants in commercial presentations of them. When plants are marketed as “succulents” (such as hen and chicks), geophytes, in which the swollen storage organ is entirely underground, are less frequently included. Instead, plants with caudexes,[16] which are swollen above-ground organs at soil level that are formed from a stem, a root, or both, are. [6]

What makes succulent plants unique?

Because they can uplift a space and a person’s mood and are even known to reduce indoor pollutants, houseplants are a popular addition to many houses. However, some indoor plants are better for you than others. Succulents are among the greatest indoor plants for the following six reasons:

1. They are tolerant of dry, enclosed environments.

2. They require little watering.

Unlike other houseplants, succulents can endure limited watering because to a special adaption. They do not require watering as regularly as other plants because of their ability to store water in their thick, fleshy leaves, stems, and larger roots. Even their name derives from this characteristic; “succulent” is a translation of the Latin word succulentus, which means “containing juice,” according to the Online Etymology Dictionary.

  • Your fingers will come out dry even if you bury them two knuckles deep in the ground.
  • The normally glossy leaves start to wilt.
  • The leaves shrink or pucker.

3. They don’t need a lot of fertilizer.

During the warmer months of the year, you only need to fertilize succulent plants three or four times overall. You can use only approximately half of the fertilizer you would normally spend on a standard houseplant because they don’t need as much feeding, which results in cost savings.

4. They resemble living works of art.

5. You may create indoor gardens with them.

  • same growth rates
  • similar watering requirements
  • like what the sun requires Don’t combine two succulents that require full sunshine with those that prefer partial shade, for example.

6. They will look good in your house.

What distinguishes succulents from other plants?

What distinguishes a succulent from a cactus? The only plant that can survive in a hot south window, where the light shines through the glass intensified, is a cactus. Any plant that stores water in juicy leaves, stems, or roots to resist recurring droughts is considered a succulent. Some people accept non-fleshy desert plants while others exclude plants with flesh, such as epiphytic orchids (yuccas, puyas).

Cactus is merely a type of succulent that can hold moisture and is classified separately from other succulents (cacti is the plural form of cactus in Latin) (Cactaceae). On the other hand, not every succulent is a cactus. In addition to being close relatives of the pointsetta, geranium, lily, grape, amaryllis, crassula, daisy, and milkweed, succulents are members of approximately 40 botanical families that are distributed throughout the world.

The name “cactus” derives from the Greek word “kaktos,” which means “spiny plant.” The ancient Greeks used this word to describe a species that was actually an artichoke variety rather than a cactus. 2000 years later, Linnaeus, who classified plants, gave a family of plants with distinctive characteristics like thick stems that served as water reservoirs, prickly or hairy coverings, and few, if any, leaves the name Cactaceae.

Cacti are simple to spot. They rarely have leaves because they have to work so hard to stay alive. They have stems that have been altered into cylinders, pads, or joints that store water during dry spells. Skin thickness lowers evaporation. For defense against browsing animals, the majority of species have bristles or spines, but some lack them, and others have long hair or a woolly covering. Large and vibrant flowers are the norm. Fruit may be both edible and colorful.

Every cactus has leaves when it is still a seedling. Additionally, some plants briefly produce tiny leaves on their new growth each spring. The majority of cactus progressively lost their leaves as shifting climatic patterns transformed native environments into deserts, evaporating too much limited water into the dry air. They switched to storing the water that was available in their stems. To adapt the size of their evaporation surfaces to changing conditions, many may modify their shape. When moisture is abundant, ribs that resemble an accordion can extend; when there is a drought, they can contract.

The majority of succulents, such as aloes, hawthorias, crassulas, and echeveria, originated in environments with less harsh conditions than cactus, such as those with rainy seasons followed by protracted dry seasons. They all have leaves. Their leaves gradually grew fattened by water-storing tissues and covered in a waxy or horny substance that lessens evaporation from the surface to help them get through the dry spells.

From Canada, through Central America, the West Indies, and south to the chilly regions of Chile and Patagonia, the cactus (Cactaceae) family can be found (southern end of South America). The largest collection may be in Mexico, but there are also a large number in the western deserts of the United States and at higher elevations in the Cordilleras of Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.

The majority of succulents are native to milder, semi-desert regions of the planet (Mexico, South Africa). Some (such as sedums and sempervivums) are native to cooler regions where they thrive on sunny, rocky ledges and slopes. Although there are many succulents around the world, not all succulents are desert plants. They can be found on mountains, in jungles, and next to bodies of water. Succulents can be found in semi-arid parts of North and South America, Asia, and Africa, but many also live in rain forests. Succulents can be found in the mountains where they can survive inclement weather, strong winds, and poor soil. Aeonium is a succulent native to Africa, the Canary and Madeira Islands; Agave is a succulent native to the Americas; Aloe is a succulent native to Africa, the Mediterranean, and Atlantic islands; Cotyledon is a succulent native to semi-arid regions of Africa; Crassula is a succulent native to mostly Africa; Dudleya is a succulent native to coastal California and Mexico; Faucaria is a succulent native to South Africa; Sempervivum: North Africa, Asia Minor, and Central and Southern Europe.