Why Do Cactus

Being a desert plant, your goal is to prevent water reduction. As strange as it may appear, cactus spines really work to prevent water loss in cacti.

Cactus spines primarily stop cacti from losing water by decreasing air flow around the plant. Air flow is broken up by spines, which can aid in lowering evaporation. A buffer zone with air that is a little bit more humid can also be produced by the trapped air surrounding the cactus.

This is significant because plants lose a lot of water as it evaporates off their leaves.

Why are cactus thorns necessary?

The prickly pear cactus found in Mexico has the potential to become a fantastic energy source in the future.

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Cacti are among my favorite plant species, and their needles undoubtedly make them distinctive. In many respects, the needles that cover cactus are essential to their survival. Since many cacti are found in dry environments, these plants need to store a lot of water in order to thrive. In fact, according to scientists, water makes up between 90 and 94 percent of a cactus plant. Cacti are ideal treats for thirsty species due to their high water content. Animals that consume cactus in the wild include quail, kangaroo rats, sheep, desert tortoises, as well as a variety of insects. In order to stop thirsty or hungry animals from eating or harming the plant, cacti contain needles.

Additionally, you could see that the color and texture of cactus spines might vary. While some spines are fluffy, others are stiff. The color of the spines can also vary, from white to gray to pink! Because of these variations in spine color and texture, cactus can more effectively blend into their surroundings (i.e. camouflage). Therefore, a second reason cacti have needles is to enable them to conceal from harmful species.

Heat is a significant issue in desert regions where there are many cacti. The needles of a cactus can offer protection from the sun so that it can thrive in these scorching temperatures. Although it may not seem like a single needle may offer much shade, several cacti species have needles that are grouped closely together. The plant is shaded by these spine clusters, which resemble small umbrellas. These spines provide shade for the cactus, which helps keep water from evaporating and causing water loss.

All in all, cactus use their spines as protective and hiding mechanisms against potential predators. Additionally, they give the plant shade, which keeps it cooler and prevents water loss.

Why are cactus needles present?

The cactus family is known for its prickly spines, which are actually altered leaves. The kind of leaves that a maple or oak tree has are not present on cacti. But in the distant past, they might have had leaves that were at least somewhat more similar. Due to the fact that they aid the plants in surviving in hot, dry situations, those leaves eventually changed into the prickly spines we see on cactuses today.

“They could serve as a defensive strategy to prevent herbivores, or animals that consume plants, from consuming the cactus. But spines also produce shade! “Kimberlie McCue says.

“When you are covered with spines, those spines are throwing shadows on the cactus’ body as the sun moves across the sky. They are tiny umbrellas for shade.”

All cacti are native to arid regions, and some can even survive in dry climates. How do they acquire water to exist, then? Kimberlie informs us that these plants can be found close to the water.

“There will be fog coming off the ocean in the morning. Water condenses on those spines, forming tiny droplets, which then flow down the spine, to the plant’s body, to the soil, and to the roots.”

As they hold the soil in place and offer shelter to birds and other creatures, cactuses are also crucial components of their desert ecosystems. In exchange, such animals and birds assist in pollinating the cactus flowers. Cacti are a significant local source of food for people.

Cactuses are unfortunately threatened by people who illegally steal natural plants from their surroundings. According to Kimberlie McCue, being cautious when purchasing cactus plants is one method to ensure that cacti remain healthy and numerous. Before you buy, find out where the cactus came from and confirm that the vendor is being a responsible steward of these plants.

Why do cactus needles fall out?

The majority of cacti contain spines, and having them can help you determine how healthy your plants are. Your cactus won’t appear as attractive if it is losing its spikes or leaves, and depending on the cause, it could even pass away. You may learn the causes of your cactus losing its spines (thorns) or leaves in this post, how to halt it, and how to encourage your cactus to produce new spines.

Pests (particularly mealybug), a lack of nutrients, or fertilization are a few of the main causes of a cactus losing its spines or leaves. Less frequent causes include burns, excessive watering, and inadequate sunlight.

Why do cactus leaves become prickly?

The thorny plants, like cactus, are attractive to look at but difficult to manage because most people are reluctant to admit they would enjoy having one because of the potential for intense discomfort. Cactus, agave, and mesquite are examples of desert plants that must endure in areas with little water. To live, these desert plants must contend with a variety of strange situations.

Other plants lose moisture through the pores on their leaves and stems, which they have. Therefore, in order to lock in the meager amounts of moisture they have, these desert plants must avoid those pores. As a result, these leaves lack pores and develop hard, dry spines or thorns. By not releasing any moisture at all, these thorns save water. The lower, greener portion of a leaf has the least amount of activity, assisting the plant’s survival. To protect themselves from being nibbled on, the spikes also cover the pores.

  • They are short because of a slower development mechanism.
  • Desert plants must make efficient use of their limited water supply.
  • Even still, they develop much more slowly than typical plants do.

As a result, these clever prickly bushes develop slowly while protecting themselves and preserving resources.

How long are cacti alive?

Carefully! To loop around the top, use either very thick gloves or folded newspaper. With tweezers, you may remove huge spikes that have stuck you. Small spikes can be removed by covering them with duct tape, ripping it off, or quickly massaging the area with a ball of old tights. The experts at Thejoyofplants.co.uk suggest using olive oil to refine the final fine spikes.

What pests do you need to look out for?

Verify that the plant’s body (the cactus’ “body”) and the root system are devoid of mealybugs. It is one of the most prevalent and challenging cactus pests, with a fuzzy white wax coating that contains oval insects. Additionally, aphids, scale insects, thrips, and red spider mites (eight-legged pests that cover a plant in a delicate, dense web) can appear. Check for damage and make sure the root system is sound. Cacti that have been kept in excessive moisture for an extended period of time may have rotted “from the pot,” which can also be brought on by fungi and bacteria. The real stem, which is green, may then feel supple.

Are all cacti prickly?

No. Cacti are typically thought of as desert plants, however there are also forest cacti that lack bristles; nonetheless, the variety that can be grown indoors is extremely limited.

How long does a cactus plant live?

Cacti can live for hundreds of years in the wild. They could live for ten years or longer indoors. The issue with old ones is that every single bump, scratch, or imperfection they receive stays with them; as a result, as they age, they start to look less attractive.

What purpose does a cactus serve?

Cacti are regarded as being among the finest plants for lowering radiation and bacterial levels in their environment. Get a cactus if you want to improve the quality of your air. A cactus will take in atmospheric carbon dioxide after dusk and then expel oxygen.

Why do cacti have so many ideas?

Since cactus plants are located in desert areas, their numerous spines serve a variety of purposes. The plants’ leaves have been changed to become spines. Consequently, the cactus plant has a great deal of thorns or spines.

How come cacti are green?

The cactus’ stems are what are green on the plant. The cactus’s stems perform photosynthesis because they are green. In order to keep animals from eating the cactus, they also develop prickly needles.

Cacti may be consumed?

You can either leave the pads whole, cut them into strips, or chop them into cubes, depending on how you intend to use this vegetable. Cacti that are edible can be eaten raw or cooked. They can be grilled, sautéed, boiled, simmered, or deep-fried. Their ideal serving texture is soft and crispy. The texture of overcooked pads will be slimy. Combine them with various ingredients to create a range of wholesome, nutrient-rich recipes. Here are some recommendations:

You might need to switch the water you’re using to boil the pads and re-boil them. It’s possible that the sap coming from the pad is thick. As a general rule, the sap will be thicker the thicker the pad. After draining, the pads are washed in cold water. Why not prepare a traditional Mexican salad with diced tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, onions, and lime juice? Salt and pepper are other good additions.


Season the pads well with salt and pepper if grilling them. When the pads are somewhat brown in color and soft to the touch, they are prepared. Additionally, you may season them with a dash of salt, a squeeze of lime juice, and a little olive oil.

Cactus pads can be added to various meals, either raw or cooked, to create flavorful, nutritious foods. They can be blended into a smoothie, or they can be diced and added as a topping to yogurt or cereal. Why not attempt incorporating them into stews, casseroles, and eggs. They make a delicious addition to quesadillas and salsa. You can choose to consume this adaptable, healthy vegetable alone, in a robust vegetable soup, in a fruit or vegetable salad, or even simply by itself! It can also be prepared into a jelly. Cactus pads can also be pickled and used to other meals as a condiment.

Cactus spines can they regrow?

New areoles form and new spines sprout on a healthy cactus plant as long as general growth continues. Be tolerant. Some cacti have a slow rate of growth, therefore it could take some time before new areoles are produced.

By fertilizing it and placing the cactus in the morning sunshine, you can help it grow. eat by using a cactus

Why are cacti flowers?

Many cacti plants have a distinctive sculptural character to them. Beautiful and in a variety of eye-catching colors, cacti blooms are just stunning. In fact, it’s not unusual to find a variety of hues in a single cactus blossom.

The majority of cacti bloom throughout the day in the spring. Some species will, however, blossom at night in the summer.

Following is a breakdown of cacti plant flowering times:

Spring Bloomers

Most cacti plants will reanimate once the warm weather arrives after spending the entire winter dormant and resting. Everything is ready for another flowering season thanks to the light spring rains and moderate temperatures.

Your cacti plants will be in a better position to put on a spectacular floral display at that time because the temperatures are not yet overly scorching. They will still utilise the water in their stems to flower even in the absence of enough rainfall.

These plants will begin to bloom in some regions of North America as early as March, with April being the month with the most blooms. The prickly pear cactus begins to grow and display its blooming display around May.

Summer Shows

Not all cactus have spring flowers. Some of them will hold off on flowering until the summer. The large-growing kinds of cacti that store a lot of water in their stems are typically the ones that bloom throughout the sweltering summer months.

Even when daytime temperatures reach to extraordinary highs, the water retained in their stems makes it easy for them to flower. Saguaros are well recognized for blooming throughout the summer. When fully mature, these amazing cacti plants can grow up to 60 feet tall, but they won’t begin to bloom until they are at least 40 years old.

When the temperatures are so high, the Carnegiea gigantea (a variety of Saguaro) typically begins to bloom in mid-May to mid-June. This Saguaro can grow up to 50 feet tall.

Another kind of cactus that blooms from spring to summer is the heavy-bodied barrel cactus. Depending on the species, this type of cactus has flowers that are either orange, brilliant red, or yellow. For instance, the most prevalent variety of barrel cactus, the Fishhook, has yellow flowers.

Night Bloomers

While it’s sweltering outside, some cacti plants also flower at night, which aids in water conservation. One cactus species that blooms at night is the Peruvian cactus. Its roughly five-inch-diameter trumpet-shaped blossom often has a sweet aroma.

Another typical variety of night-blooming cactus is the cereus. On its flattened stem, it bears white flowers in the spring and summer. The oval, crimson dragon fruit that the cereus produces is quite popular.

The Christmas Cactus: A Special Type of Cactus

Perhaps the most popular variety of cacti grown worldwide is the Christmas cactus. The name of the Christmas cactus indicates when it will bloom. The Christmas cactus, which has a flat, leaf-like stalk, is renowned to bloom in December or around Christmas.

Although many other hybrids of this priceless succulent now exist, the original species of this cactus evolved in the Brazilian tropical rainforests. A Christmas cactus can produce white, red, purple, pink, or salmon-colored flowers, depending on the situation and the climate in your area.

It needs chilly nights and more than 13 hours of darkness each day when planted indoors in order to bloom around Christmas. It can readily be made to flower in November rather than December, earning it the nickname “Thanksgiving Cactus.”