🌵 If you’re curious about cacti and succulents then you’ve come to the right place! 🌵
We think these plants are some of the most amazing living things on Earth. Take a look around for some fun facts about cacti and succulents and top tips for growing them at home.
Young people can join the society at a discount and we have a show category especially for our juniors to showcase their growing skills. We’d love for you to join us!
The Rarest Cactus
The Smallest Cactus
Blossfeldia liliputana is the smallest of all cacti. Its tiny heads grow to only around 12-16mm across – not much bigger than your fingertip. In the wild, they tend to grow tucked into cracks between rocks.
This cactus can recover from being completely entirely dried out, with no water left in its cells at all – something that would kill almost all plants. Once it receives water, the plant cells rehydrate. Plants like this are commonly known as “resurrection plants”!
The Smallest Leaves
The tiny sand pygmyweed (Crassula connata) is a succulent from California. It has the smallest true leaves of any plant, just over 1mm long – around the size of a head of a pin. Even though they are extremely small, the leaves are fleshy and help the plant to store water.
The Most Common Cactus
Opuntia ficus-indica kz1 Cyprus. Photo: CC BY-SA 4.0
Opuntia cacti are well-known because of the classic “prickly pear”. They are native to the Americas, with species growing in almost every country and region in North and South America, including some parts of Canada! Opuntia ficus-indica, native to Mexico, is widely used in horticulture for its pads and its fruit which are both edible. Unfortunately, because Opuntia grow happily at a variety of different latitudes, many of them can become invasive. This has happened with Opuntia ficus-indica which has spread across a lot of regions of the Old World and in some places, competes with the native plants.
The Tallest Cactus
The tallest living cactus in the wild is the Mexican giant cardon (Pachycereus pringlei) which grows in the Sonoran Desert in northwestern Mexico. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the tallest as 19.2m (63ft) tall – that’s more than a 5-storey building!