That the fleshy part of a cactus plant is the stem while the thorns are actually the leaves? Cacti (plural for cactus) are strange but fascinating plants. They come in various shapes, sizes and colours.
Cacti grow best in hot, tropical climates and desert areas where there is very little rainfall. Their swollen stems store a large amount of water. The liquid stored is not pure, clear water but a thick fluid. However, it is perfectly drinkable, and has saved many lives in the desert. It can be extracted easily by scratching or making a hole in the thick stem. The spines or leaves protect the plant from birds and animals.
Cactus plants have a complicated root system that allows them to absorb water from the soil. Strangely, even small-sized cactus plants have big roots. The flowers are often very attractive.
The lifespan of a cactus can vary from 25 years to 300 years. The tallest cactus has a height of about 20 metres while the shortest is just a few centimetres tall.