Homeland house cactus

Cacti in the wild in our areas do not grow even theoretically, but on the windowsons they rooted so firmly that any child knows them from deep childhood and is able to unmistakably determine them in appearance. Although this type of home plant is well recognizable and meets in every third farm, even those who abundantly grown, not always can always tell a lot of interesting pets about it. Let’s try to eliminate gaps in knowledge and figure out how this guest arrived from.


Start standing with what can be called cactus. You yourself, most likely, you know that a characteristic prickly plant theoretically can take completely different forms. Considering which confusion sometimes happens in biology, it is not surprising if some species that are considered cacti are actually not so, on the contrary. So, according to modern biological classification, cacti or cacti – this is a whole family of plants attributable to the order of navigate, an approximate number of species as a whole reaches about two thousand.

All these plants are perennial and flowering, but they are customary to divide into four subfaming, each of which has its own characteristic features.

What is interesting, the word “cactus” of ancient Greek origin, although, run forward, these plants occur at all from Greece. Ancient Greeks called a kind of plant that did not reach our time – at least modern scientists can not answer that it is worth understanding under this term. Until the XVIII century, what we now call cacti, it was customary to be called Melokactus. Only in the classification of the famous Swedish scientist Karl Linneya these plants received a modern name.

Now we’ll figure it out what is a cactus, and what – no. It is not necessary to confuse the concept of cactus and succulent – the first must necessarily relate to the second, but the second represents a broader concept, that is, other plants may include. Cacti, like all other succulents, have special fabrics in their structure, allowing for a long time to store water stock. Actually, cacti are distinguished by Areolas – special side kidneys from which spines or hairs grow. The present cactus and flower, and the fruit are a continuation of the stalk tissues, both organs are equipped with the above-mentioned aroles. Biologists allocate not less than a dozen signs characteristic only for this family, but to see and evaluate them without relevant instruments and evaluate them almost impossible.

If the cactus, by mistake, you can call many spiny plants, in fact, not related to those, it is sometimes possible to absolutely not recognize the representative of cacti in green plantings that are not like a typical room option. Suffice it to say that the cactus (with a biological, and not a philistine point of view) can be a deciduous bush and even a small tree. And can consist practically from one root with a barely noticeable above-ground part. Dimensions, respectively, may differ varieties – there are tiny copies of several centimeters in diameter, but in American films you are most likely seen and multi-meter branchy cacti weighing a few tons. Naturally, all this diversity is not grown at home – as a room plant, only those species that correspond to two basic requirements are usually selected: they must be pretty and relatively small. In this case, it also depends on the region – in some countries they may be massively growing those types that we have almost unknown.

Where comes from?

Since the cactus is not one kind, but a lot of varieties, allocate some common homeland for all this biological abundance is difficult. It is often said that the origin of the cactus is obliged to whole mainland – North and South America, where he grows in dry conditions from the arid Wild West of the United States to Argentina and Chile. For most species, this statement is fair, but some species that appeared in Continental Africa and Madagascar include cactus. In addition, the efforts of Europeans these plants were driving around the world, therefore, in some warm countries of the same Europe, individual species come across in a wild state. Even in the south of the Russian Black Sea region, such aspirations come across.

However, the peculiar capital of cacti is considered to be Mexico. First of all, there are really many of them in this country, the plant is found almost everywhere even in a wild form, and about half of all known types of cactus grow here. In addition, in most regions of its origin, cacti were wild, while the ancestors of modern Mexicans (not to mention our contemporaries) actively divorced some species for various needs, turning the plant into the room. Now representatives of the cactus family as indoor plants worldwide are perceived exclusively as a decorative decoration. This property of green plantings Ancient Mexicans also used, but this possible use of cacti was not limited.

From the sources of Spanish conquerors and the legends of local Indians, it is known that different types of these plants could be used in food, were used to carry out religious rites and as a source of coloring substances. In some regions, for the same needs, cacti can be used until now. For the Indians, the cactus was completely all – the living hedges did from it and even built at home. European conquerors did not care too much by the classification of cultures grown by the conquered peoples, but we had information that at least two types of cactus were grown in Central America exactly.

Today, this plant in its different species is considered to be a national symbol of Mexico, so if we consider some one country of his homeland, then this.

There is also a theory, according to which cacti originally appeared in South America. According to the authors of the assumption, it happened about 35 million years ago. In North America, including Mexico, these plants fell relatively recently – only about 5-10 million years ago, and in Africa and other continents got even later, together with migratory birds. However, the petrified residues of cacti were not found anywhere, so such a point of view should still be confirmed by weighty arguments.


It is believed that the cactus is an unpretentious plant in terms of the fact that he does not need a lot of water, but in fact it means certain obstacles to growing. Most barbed species grow in nature in hot and dry climate conditions, respectively, they do not like a coolness, nor excessive humidity. Please note where most of these plants grow in North and South America – they choose Mexican deserts, as well as dry Argentine Steppes, but in the jungle of Amazonia they will not find them.

Evaluating that even bushes and trees with leaves can be treated with cactus, it is not to be surprised that the typical conditions for growing in such species are able to differ significantly. Separate types are growing well in the same wet rainforests, although in this appearance they do not resemble their closest relatives, others are able to climb high in the mountains, up to 4 thousand meters above sea level, and typical deserts at such a height no longer happens.

The same applies to the soil on which the home flower will be grown. The classic barbed cactus from Mexico grows in the desert, where the soil is not distinguished by fertility – the soils there are traditionally poor and lungs, with a high content of mineral salts. However, all sorts of “nonypical” cacti growing in fundamentally different natural conditions usually choose heavy clay soils. It is the unpretentiousness of the classical Mexican “barbeds” caused the fact that as a room plant, cacti became so popular. They do not need special care, no need to make fertilizers, even irrigation mode can not be observed strictly – it is very profitable for a busy person who can not appear for a long time at home. As we have already understood, when choosing a cactus, it is still worth showing a certain share of attentiveness, since exceptions from this rule, though not too popular, but exist.

Important! If you consider yourself to real lovers of succulents and want to plant cacti massively, please note that different types are different about the closest neighbor of themselves like this.

Some species do not like to be located next to each other, in nature they grow only at a considerable distance, others, on the contrary, tend to grow dense thickets.

How did you get to Russia?

Like many other American cultures and inventions, the cactus came to Russia indirectly, through Western Europe. Unlike many other continents, in Europe, historically, cacti did not grow in general – even those species that do not remind us the usual “barley”. Separate travelers could see something similar in Africa or Asia, but also in these regions adjacent to Europe with a species variety of cacti not much. Therefore, it is considered that the acquaintance of Europeans with these plants happened at the turn of the XV and XVI centuries when America was opened.

For European colonizers, the appearance of a new type of plants was so unusual that it was cactis were one of the first plants brought to Europe.

As mentioned above, the same Aztecs have already used some types of this family in decorative purposes, so beautiful specimens that have fallen into the old light, soon became the property of rich collectors or avid scientists. One of the first fans of cacti can be considered the London pharmacist Morgana – at the end of the XVI century he already existed a full-fledged collection from only cacti cacti. Since the plant did not require special care, but was different from a nontrivial view, it soon became a decoration of the rapidly gaining popularity of private greenhouses and public botanical gardens throughout the continent.

In Russia, cacti appeared somewhat later, but rich people about them, of course, knew from their European trips. The overseas plant really wanted to see in the St. Petersburg Botanical Garden, for which in 1841-1843 there was even a special expedition to Mexico headed by Baron Karvin. This scientist even opened several completely new species, and some of the copies brought by him were worthwhile in the gold equivalent twice as much more than weighed. Until 1917, the Russian aristocracy had many private collections of cacti represented by real scientific value, but after the revolution, almost all of them were lost. For many decades, the only Russian cacti remained those that were preserved in large botanical gardens such as Leningrad and Moscow. If we talk about the widespread spread of cactus as home plants, then in the Soviet Union there has been such a tendency in about the 1950s of the last century. Some clubs of cacti lovers continuously exist since those times, even a special term “Cactusist”, indicating a person for whom these succulents are the main hobby.

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