One distinguishing feature of succulents is the fleshiness of their stems, leaves, or roots.
They have developed this ability through time so that they can retain water and hence survive in arid environments.
This is the case regardless of any other characteristics, such as their mode of reproduction.
Dicots, on the other hand, have just one embryonic leaf, making them easy to recognize from monocots.
Succulents may be either dicots or monocots, depending on the specific species.
What About Cactus?
Before we get into how cacti are dicot and why. It’s better to understand them as a whole. As far as houseplants go, cacti are consistently among the most sought-after varieties.
The plural form of the word “cactus,” “cacti,” is often used. Here’s some interesting information about them.
- Cactus is one of the dicots with specialized traits plus spiny leaves.
- One species of cactus, the Pereskia, has real leaves that fall off after prolonged droughts.
- Spines are absent from certain cacti, while others have transformed into rough spikes.
- Most cacti are able to produce beautiful blooms. The blooms, which range in size, are beautiful and varied in color and fragility.
- Some cacti grow on other plants (epiphytes), although the vast majority grow in soil.
- Many different types of cactus may be used to perform grafts between different species.
Different Species Of Cacti
Like other succulents, there are many different types of cacti.
- There’s one cactus named for its clusters of tiny, spiny branches.
- Some cacti are collectively known as barrel cacti because of their characteristic shapes.
- Cultivars that bloom during the day are sometimes known as “orchid cacti” because of their attractive blooms, which come in many unique types.
Some Interesting Cultivated Cacti
There are several types of Mammalaria, and many are cultivated for their aesthetic value. The name of this species comes from the many protuberances that develop in rows on the stem.
Common mammillarias include feathery mammillaria, powdered puffs, lady fingers, thimble, or the pincushion. Clusters of them aren’t uncommon.
Chollas are a kind of Opuntia plant that may be identified by their sharp spines and slender, cylindrical stems.
The flat, spineless pads of a bunny-ears pad cactus are adorned with golden clusters.
Members of the genus Pereskia produce thick spikes in addition to the typical cactus leaves.
The Schlumbergera genus includes a variety of cacti, all of which get their names from the holidays they are associated with.
Formerly classified as a Zygocactus, the Thanksgiving cactus is now placed in its own genus, Schlumbergera, distinct from the December cactus.
They’ve got green, wide, and pliable cladophylls that mimic the stem’s joints.
Why Is It A Dicot?
Cactus seeds develop into young plants that are classified as dicots due to the presence of multiple immature leaves.
Cacti are categorized as dicots because they have two leaves that grow on a single stem when they first emerge from their bud.
Cacti Have What?
Succulent cacti live for many years. Cacti often have thick, woody, or grassy stems that are chlorophyll-rich.
Cacti may be identified from other succulents by their areoles, which are tiny cushion-like structures holding undercoats (plant hairs) and, for virtually all varieties, spines, or sharp bristles (glochids).
Flowers, additional branches, and leaves may all form from modified branches called areoles.
Are Succulents the Same as Cacti?
What sets succulents different from cacti? Only a cactus, with its thick skin and ability to withstand high temperatures, can thrive in a south window.
A succulent is a plant that can survive in arid conditions by storing water in its leaves, stems, or roots.
Those on the fence about accepting desert plants tend to be more open to those that lack meat, such as epiphytic orchids, than those who do (yuccas, puyas).
How To Spot A Cactus
It’s not hard to detect a cactus. Since they must exert much effort just to survive, they seldom take time off for vacation.
- Their original stems have been modified to spheres, pads, or joints in order to collect and store water for use during drought. The amount of moisture lost through the skin is reduced as its thickness increases.
- Most species possess bristles or spines to protect themselves against browsing animals; however, some species lack these defenses and instead have long hair or a fuzzy coating.
- It is typical to see flowers that are both large and colorful. Fruits might be both colorful and tasty.
- There are leaves on the seedling of every kind of cactus. Another seasonal variation is the temporary appearance of small leaves on the new growth of some plants throughout the spring.
- As climates changed and original habitats became deserts, most cacti gradually lost their leaves because the little water they did have evaporated into the dry air. They began storing the available water in their stems.
- Many may alter their form to increase or decrease the size of their evaporation surfaces in response to changing environmental circumstances. Accordion-like ribs expand when there’s enough water and shrink when there isn’t.
What About Other Succulents?
So how are succulents different from a cactus?
- Succulent plants including aloes, hawthorns, crassulas, and echeveria often evolved in milder climates than cacti, such as regions with alternating wet and dry periods.
- All of them feature leaves. They adapt by having their leaves progressively swell with water-storing tissues and then wrap themselves in a waxy or horny material that reduces surface evaporation.
- The cacti may be found all the way from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere, including the colder areas of Chile and Patagonia.
An Intro to Cotyledons
For those unfamiliar with botany, “cot” is an abbreviation for “cotyledon,” the initial set of leaves or structures with veins that emerge from a seedling.
Cotyledons may be found in every plant that will eventually bloom.
Even though they don’t develop into fully formed leaves until much later, these structures are crucial to a plant’s development.
Cotyledons’ Biological Role
These serve as a temporary source of nutrition and water absorption until the seedling is mature enough to develop true leaves.
A cotyledon often emerges above ground, however, there are certain plants that don’t.
- The growth characteristics, appearance, and sustenance from food and water are the primary distinctions between monocots and dicots.
- However, once your plant has matured and its blooms are open, you won’t be able to tell them apart by their veins.
- Plants may be identified by their leaves, blooms, stalks, and roots.
Compare and contrast: monocots vs. dicots
By definition, a monocot has a single vein (or “cot”), whereas a dicot has two veins that split off from one another. This variation in development is possible because of the differentiation. However, after the plant has fully matured, this won’t be useful for identification.
- Because of their reduced complexity, monocots are considered to be among the most ancient and symmetrical plant species around.
- They continue to develop the same way from seedling to adult: one leaf at a time, outward from the plant’s core.
- Even though some monocots, particularly mature ones, have veins that run in parallel to each other, this is not always the case.
Types of Monocots and Some Specimens
- Long, narrow leaves with parallel veins radiate out from a stem or trunk in monocots. Usually, they attach to the structure by a sheath.
- Pollen from monocots has a single trench or hole across the leaf, and its roots grow out of the ground in a fibrous fashion.
- They are unable to produce offspring.
Some Specimens of Monocotyledonous Cacti
Some succulents that fall within the category of monocots include:
- Dragon’s blood
A good example of this is the agave, whose striped veins radiate outward from the center of each leaf.
- Dicots’ atypical development makes them less suitable for planting in rows than monocots.
- No covering can be seen on the stems or branches where they develop.
- This may sometimes be seen veering off from a feather-like vein running down the center of a leaf.
- Other dicots, however, branch out from a central vein like the fingers of a hand.
Identifying Dicots and Some Examples
- Dicots may be identified by their three-furrowed or pore-filled pollen and their clearly evident secondary growth.
- It is the radicle that gives rise to a single taproot.
- The cactus is an excellent illustration of a “genuine” dicot.
A few succulent dicots are:
Symbolic Meaning of Flowers and Roots
- If somehow the plant seems to be in bloom, the number of petals and other floral components may be used as a reliable indicator of whether or not it is a monocot or dicot.
- Different from dicots, whose parts and petals tend to come in multiple sets of four or five, monocots tend to cluster around the number three.
- Digging into the dirt to examine the roots is the last option.
- A taproot system, in which a single big root just at the base gives rise to many smaller roots, is characteristic of dicotyledonous plants.
- Finding a web of fibrous roots identifies the plant as a monocot.