What is a Succulent Plant?

Succulent plants are one of the most beautiful and adorable in the plant family. They are amazing due to their unusual and attracting appearances. They are termed as Succulents in short. These plants generally have characteristics of fleshy, swollen and thickened leaves. The word succulent drives from a Latin word ‘sucus‘, that means ‘juice‘ or ‘sap‘. Generally, these plants store water in their stem, roots and leaves. They do so to retain water in arid climates.

These plant can be found in the areas with low rainfall. These plants can thrive in arid climates due to their ability to store water in their structures. People have developed hobby to collect different succulent varieties in their collection. Hence succulents are usually grown as an ornamental plants. Succulents can be found in all continents except Antarctica. They can be found in arid deserts, cold mountains, seaside cliffs, and even steamy jungles.

There are many different types, species, and cultivars of succulent plants. They all have fascinating variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. These plants require very less maintenance. Most of the succulent can thrive in extreme climate like high or low temperature.

Types of Succulents

Succulents do not belong to a single family but it spread over 60 different plant families. Each family has many genera. These plants are found with different shape, size, and colour. This makes the succulent plants adorable and unusual. These plants are found in families such as Agavaceae, Apocynaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Bromeliaceae, Cactaceae, Crassulaceae, Didiereaceae, Dioscoreaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Fouquieriaceae, Liliaceae, Portulacaceae, Welwitschiaceae, etc. You can read our complete article on different types of succulent plants.

Difference between Succulent and Cactus

This is the most confusing question that is searched on the internet. Well, in short, all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. Cacti belong to the Cactaceae family. In more detail, cacti simply constitute a sub-category within the group of plants collectively known as succulent plants. Succulents do not have separate plant family like cacti have. Succulent plants are found in 60 different plant families.

A cactus have small, round, cushion-like structures called areoles. Through these thorns or spines, hair, leaves, and flowers are grown. Areoles generally look like minute fluffy cotton like lumps on the cactus body. A succulent which do not have these areoles is not considered as cactus. This is the only difference that differentiate between a succulent and a cactus.

Thorns or spines are not the factor to identify whether a plant is a cactus or a succulent. Areoles is the only thing that separates cacti from succulents.

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