Almost 400,000 different plant species are known to exist on earth, but perhaps none is as interesting as the cactus. Now, when most people think of a cactus, they picture the iconic spikes, or Glochids, that protrude from most cacti, but the cactus is so much more than just a spiky plant.
Let's take a closer look at five of the most fun and fascinating facts about these unique plants that you probably weren't aware of.
1. Many cacti species can live for up to 300 years in the wild
How long do your plants typically live in your home? Probably, a few months, or if you're really lucky and take very good care of them, they might live for a few years, right? Well, cacti can actually live a little bit longer, and by a little bit longer, we mean centuries. The two main reasons plants die are because of too much heat or not enough water, but for cacti, these aren't problems at all, and as such, cacti can live for up to 300 years in the wild with no maintenance whatsoever.
2. Cacti can live for more than two years without a single drop of water
Cacti can store water better than almost any other plant found in nature, and as such, they can live for extended periods of time without receiving any rain or subsequent watering. This is why there are so many species of cacti in the desert where other plants can't survive the often-long periods of drought.
3. Some cacti actually have flowers that open at night
When most people think of a cactus, they don't picture any beautiful flowers, but did you know that some cacti, such as the Monstrose Cactus, actually have attractive, colorful flowers? It’s true! The reason many people don’t know this fun fact is because the Monstrose Cactus only blooms at night, so if you want to catch a glimpse of its' flower, you'll need to bring a flashlight or some night vision goggles.
4. Certain species of cacti produce edible fruit
Have you ever tried a cactus fruit? Probably not, right? You may not have even known that cacti produce fruit, but they do. Certain species of cacti, such as the Peruvian Apple Cactus, produce an edible fruit. The tart fruit of the Peruvian Apple Cactus has a floral smell and sweet taste, similar to sugarcane.
5. Cacti can store an incredible amount of water
So, as mentioned, cacti can store water and lots of it. But, certain species of cacti, such as the Saguaro Cactus, take this to the extreme. A full-grown Saguaro can actually hold about 200-Gallons, or 757-liters of water when it's raining; that's enough water to fill almost six standard bathtubs. Crazy!
Cacti are one of the most beautiful and interesting plants found in nature. Not only do cacti make great decorations, but they are also particularly interesting; they can live for centuries, and for up to two years without a single drop of water, some have flowers that only open at night, others produce delicious fruit, and they can store an unimaginable amount of water. These are only some of the interesting facts about cacti, but there are definitely many more reasons to love these prickly, succulent plants.