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What are Cactus?

Last updated date: 05th Mar 2024
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An Overview of Cactus

Have you ever noticed that some plants have beautiful flowers whereas some plants do not have flowers? Some plants have pointed needle-like structures. Some plants have both flowers and spines. One such category of plant is known as the cactus. Cactus comes in lots of shapes, sizes, and varieties. Let’s learn more about Cactus, its benefits, interesting facts about cactus, and much more. First, let's have a look at what a cactus plant looks like.

Cactus Plant

Cactus Plant

What are Cactus?

We can define cactus as a type of plant that grows in hot, dry areas such as deserts. The stem of a cactus plant is very thick and it has sharp points which are like needles. The plant does not have leaves.

A cactus is a thick fleshy plant that grows in different parts of the world. One can grow a cactus plant as an indoor plant in a pot. The Cactus plant has a very unique feature to conserve water which is why they can survive in a dry environment as they can have water stored inside them. This is a unique factor of the cactus plant. Cactus is a desert plant as they grow in dry places, these plants have sharp spines or needles which provide great protection to this plant. The family of cactus is Cactaceae, with nearly 2,000 species. The word Cactus is derived from Latin.



Benefits of Cactus

Uses of Cactus include the following.

  • Cactus can reduce body fat and also can keep the heart strong. 

  • Cactus fruit in diet can help to reduce the risk of strokes and other vascular diseases.

  • Consuming cactus plants also helps to protect nerve cells.

  • Cactus is rich in fibre and antioxidants.

  • This plant helps to keep the atmosphere of the house positive as it helps to clean the air as it removes pollutants from the air and thus improves the quality of air.

  • Cactus water is made from the fruit of cactus and it's very healthy to drink as it is low in calories and provides nutrients to the body.

  • Eating cacti is also good for losing weight.

  • The Cactus plant also helps to cure diabetes as it helps to decrease the blood sugar level and helps people to become healthy.

  • Cactus is an excellent source of vitamins like A, C, and E. It is loaded with vitamin C.

  • Regular consumption of cactus juice helps to eliminate viruses from the body and thus strengthens a person's immunity.

How long does Cactus live?

A cactus plant can live for hundreds of years. Cactus plants can be kept indoors or as well as outdoors. Indoor cactus can survive for 10 years or even more. Studies have found the oldest cactus plant which was about 300 years old.

Purple coloured Cactus Plant

Purple Coloured Cactus Plant

Every kind of cactus plant is unique and requires little maintenance to survive as they are hard and they can live for many years.

Interesting Facts about Cactus

  • Cactus spines are not thorns, they are highly modified leaves.

  • The cactus plant needs to rest.

  • There are about 20 genera with some 1200 species and many hybrids found in the world. 

  • Cactus plants can store an unbelievable amount of water in a short time.

  • The tallest cactus ever was over 78 feet tall.

  • Most species occur in arid environments such as deserts, tropical or temperate dry forests, chaparral habitats, sky islands, and rocky hillsides on coastal Mediterranean-type ecosystems.


From the article, we have learned about the Cactus, its features, interesting facts about the cactus, and much more. We have also learned that the Cactus is a plant that has immense benefits and it is used to keep the body fit and fine. Cactus is a slow-growing plant and the best time to give more water to this plant is in spring or summer and less in winter. Cacti show a wide range of shapes and sizes. On a whole, the cactus is a versatile plant.

FAQs on What are Cactus?

1. What is special about cactus spines?

Cactus can be differentiated from other plants by the presence of spines which are modified leaves. These spine clusters act as the protector as these spines help to give shade to the plant, which further helps the plant to be protected or prevented from water loss. Also, these spines protect the cactus from animals as the animals cannot eat this plant due to spines. There are some cacti without spines but mostly spines are present. Thus spines play an important role in the cactus plant.

2. Can one Drink cactus water?

Yes definitely one can drink cactus water. Drinking cactus water on an empty stomach will give you good immunity. It also helps to improve gut health. So cactus water has many benefits for the body as cactus water is made from the fruit of prickly pear. 

3. How can we extract cactus water?

Most cactus waters are made by squeezing the juice from the pink fruit of the prickly pear. It is low in calories and is just like coconut water and aloe Vera juice.