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Good article Cactus has been listed as one of the Natural sciences good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
May 27, 2012 Good article nominee Listed
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Mentioned are "varieties" of cacti. In fact they are both species and genuses. Opuntia being a genus. When you explain what cacti are, you can give examples of cacti and use vernacular names. When you look at the info from a "technical" point of view, words like variety should be used with care as they have a meaning within the nomenclature. Acanthocalycium klimpelianum var. macranthum is alphabetically the first variety that I am aware of :).

As to methods of preventing evaporation, there are many methods to prevent evaporation employed by cacti. That might be a special subject within the wikipedia? Among them a thick skin few "huidmondjes" stomatals??, retaining water in bulbous stems, reflecting sunlight, being able to absorb dew etc. This should then lead to a new term xerophytes plants that are adapted to drought. These includes succulents and bulbous plants and and..

This should be moved over to Cactaceae for consistency with all other angiosperm families, unless there is a reason to have both Cactus and Cactaceae? Merging Cactaceae into here was probably a mistake; should have gone the other way. I do not buy the arguement that the common name should prevail—that causes difficulty in most other families of plants. Even within this group, many people regularly confuse the terms "cactus" and "succulent", thinking anything succulent with spines is a type of cactus; there are numerous examples of these kinds of false cacti in the Euphorbiaceae - Marshman 20:28, 9 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I don't buy the argument that consistency should prevail. In that case, we shouldn't restrict our attention to consistency within divisions and phyla, and so should never use common names. Whether or not the scientific name is more appropriate should be decided on a case by case basis - but I don't know whether it should in this case or not. Josh

I think consistency is more significant than the rule that common names should prevail (IMHO); but case by case is essentially what we have. It is a fact that while broadly used common names usually coincide with a taxonomic group, there exist (because they are common names) lots of exceptions. In this case, I think Cactaceae is more appropriate because of those exceptions. On the other hand, cacti are one of those plant groups with lots of non-botanist collectors and afficianados. They may want a "cactus" article. Should there be two Cactus and Cactaceae? How purist are the "cactus" people? The orchids are under Orchidaceae (got my vote) although I'm not aware of too many non-Orchidaceae orchids (there are a number of non-Orchidacea flowers howeever, like the orchid tree (Fabaceae). Cactus people tend to be more cactus&succulant people, rather than just Cactaceae people.
In the end, it does not matter all that much, since between redirercts and searches, no one is really put out that much by names that are not just what THEY or I expected or want. I would propose a Cactus and succulents and a Cactaceae to cover different aspects of the subject - Marshman 03:10, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)
There is already an overarching article in Xerophyte that covers what you propose.
You assume that latin names are stable and, in the case of the cactus family you may be right however, when you add a Cactaceae you need a Cactus with a redirect as that is what the users type in for a key word. So what is the point, being "correct"? There is no confusion that is solved. GerardM 06:47, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)
My point is partly just for consistency with other angiosperm families. Typing cactus certainly could redirect to Cactaceae or it could go to a disambig. page that gives the reader a choice based on what he perceives "cactus" to mean. With Orchidaceae, "orchid" right now goes just there, with Poaceae, "grass" goes instead to a disambig. page because there are many alternative meanings for "grass" and Poaceae is just one. You need the redirects in any case, so that is not an issue. - Marshman 17:28, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Perhaps it's just that people in Las Vegas are connoisseurs :-), but I don't recall anyone calling a non-Cactaceae a "cactus". The general term of choice is "nasty spiky thing" which nicely covers agaves and yuccas and the rest of our things you don't want to bump into. :-) In general, there seem to be a number of families that line up well with common names, and for those the common name makes sense, and others that really need the Latin, such as Agavaceae. Stan 17:20, 20 May 2004 (UTC)

I disagree there are "a number of families that line up well with common names". Some said that was true for "grass", although clearly that is NOT the case. Orchids and cacti are perhaps the better examples of your contention. But I suspect that even in Las Vegas many people would call certain euphorbs "cacti". But having a hodge-podge of imprecise names to preserve some myth about "common names are better" seems a well-established approach around this place. As I note above, in the end it does not really matter (just makes editing a bit more difficult and the product a bit less scholarly) since redirects take care of links either way. And there would be no avoiding, with either approach, having to write a paragraph or two explaining why some things people call "cactus" are in fact not cacti at all. I was just aiming for consistency of treatment of the plant families. - Marshman 19:59, 20 May 2004 (UTC)

Ferocactus ident[edit]

Can anyone put a species name to my Ferocactus photo? Image:Ferocactus1.jpg Plant about 1.5 m tall, 40 cm diameter stems; location details: Cuautemos, southeast of Saltillo, 25°18'N 100°55'W, 2120 m altitude - MPF 21:45, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Too late, had to take Anderson back to the library. :-( Might be tough to pick a species without flower or areole closeup. Stan 01:19, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Identified as Ferocactus pilosus, thanks to Daiv at - MPF 22:17, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I would call it Ferocactus stainesii v pilosus, what do you think?


Please do not revert to the old layout; it fails to render properly in my browser, making the taxa list unreadable because it is covered over by the images. I've made another attempt to re-place the images. I'm not wedded to any particular image placement, but the old layout simply was not usable for me (and, I expect, other users with Galeon or other Mozilla-based browsers). —Tkinias 17:11, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

You've still got some whitespace there because of the pics pushing text down lower (tho' nothing like as bad as before). How would it be if the offending images were spread out down the right hand side of the genus list, like the 'A night blooming cactus' pic? - MPF 18:04, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I took out the <br style="clear: right" /> preceding #Genera as it doesn't seem necessary now; there's no whitespace now in my browser's rendering. Look OK to you? —Tkinias 20:06, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Yep, OK thanks, just a tiny bit of white left at the top of the genus list on mine, not enough to worry about - MPF 22:43, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)


am i correct in assuming that all trichocereus species should be renamed to echinopsis? eg, San Pedro (cactus) is still considered trichocereus on wikipedia, but i was under the impression that the name of the genus had changed. --Heah 22:24, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)


I don't really know if this is the place to ask my question but I'd appreciate any help...

Due to the recent Hurricane Katrina, my houseplant cactus was under several feet of water for several days. It, of course, had a lot of external and internal damage by the time I got to it. I cut off the top portion that had rotted only to find that the next several inches of the inside had...well, brown goo. I went ahead and cut off several more inches 'till I reached a point that looked healthy.

My question is this: will the cactus survive? It's been several weeks and I haven't noticed any more rotting but I don't know how well the plant will recoup after being cut in half.

It rotted at the top or the bottom? If it's the top, you can just cut off the bad parts, which apparently you did. It will seal itself over and put out new shoots. If it rotted on the bottom, if you cut away the rotted part, then pot it in pure sand which you should keep damp until it roots. I live in a desert area; when I walk out on the trails, I see sometimes cacti that have been run over growing again. They're on their sides, but they continue to grow, with the new shoots going up. Cacti are pretty hardy, it seems. JuanOso 06:46, 25 November 2005 (UTC)

Split up[edit]

How about splitting the article into sections? --Thelb4 15:00, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

Pluralization & etymology[edit]

"Cactus" is a name in botanical Latin, which is certainly not the same as classical Latin but generally follows the same rules even if a particular word was never spoken by a Roman. But more importantly, according to my sources "cactus" was indeed a Latin word for cardoon, derived from the Greek "kaktos" but as a Greek "loan" into English via Latin it would be treated as any other Latin word. (I have no Latin expertise myself, but checked with a colleague who is an authority on both Latin and botanical nomenclature.) One additioal point: it's important to distinguish between Cactus as a generic name and "cactus" as a vernacular or common name in English. Regarding the latter, it's all academic anyway as English as a language has borrowed words from many different languages but ultimately makes its own rules (if not always sensibly or logically). "Prevalent usage" eventually becomes "correct usage" (as much as I would wish otherwise, given some word usages and grammatical constructions, a whole comprised of its parts being one of my biggest pet peeves).

At any rate, both "cactuses" and "cacti" are considered accepted plurals in English of the singular "cactus" so I see no need to "correct" the word throughout the article when that's the only edit being made to the article. MrDarwin 15:23, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Cactus : One Specimen Cacti: Multiple specimens, one species Cactuses : Multiple specimens, multiple species

That is what I learned in bot 101 (same as "octopus") —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:40, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Oxygen and Water[edit]

Is this true that cactus give out oxygen during the night? --- Well, I have a question. Do cactuses like such a big amount of water? user id: pchomepi456

They need to store that much water because they live in the desert where there is little precipitation. SCHZMO 12:08, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Maybe a stupid question[edit]

My husband and I have noticed several cacti planted outside in Indiana. Will these survive over the winter or will they need to be taken in to survive?—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Directed IP to the reference desk.--Chaser T 05:20, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

-- (talk) 04:48, 23 December 2011 (UTC)== Article improvement drive ==

I have nomitated Cactus for article improvement drive. For reasons and for supporting the nomination, please see Wikipedia:Article Creation and Improvement Drive. Let's make this a featured article! --Chino 05:19, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Agree. Plants are not well represented on the FA list.Cas Liber 00:34, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Yes, cacti can survive the winter outside as well as the summer don't be fooled by this plants arid climates and history. It can survive, just start doing some research on cold deserts. =) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:48, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Species names on images?[edit]

I reckon species names on images looks much better - anyone know waht the bottom two images names are?? Also the image in the taxobox on the german page looks great, would be a good one for flower as it shows the cactus behind it, not like the current oneCas Liber 07:40, 30 October 2006 (UTC)


Cactus flowers growing in a Bay Area garden

I think I'm missing something here. At the top of the page, it says "This article is about the plant family. For the genus Cactus, see Mammillaria, Melocactus, and Opuntia." This seems to say that "Cactus" is a genus, but I do not think this is so. Rather "Cactaceae" is a family, and Mammillaria, Melocactus, and Opuntia are all genera. It seems that the text is not quite correct, but I am not sure. Thoughts? Thanks, Dar-Ape 05:40, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Good question. There needs to be a "Whatever happened to Cactus" section, and the article should be the place for the overal Cactus as in the various genera that were once Cactus but are now various other things. I uploaded a better picture of cactus flowers, although I don't know the species, as I'm not really a cactus person, just a plant person. Still, I think it shows the flowers better, but it needs the flower section description better developed before adding. KP Botany 20:41, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
So perhaps for now it should say ...For the former genus Cactus...? (Underline added for emphasis, would not be included.) Dar-Ape 00:16, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
Imo that would be better, as I see your confusion. However, I'm loathe to change it, not being a Phylogenetics of the Cactaceae person. Would someone knowledgable attend to this detail per Dar-Ape's request and comments? Thanks. KP Botany 00:30, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
You'll need to ask the Germans. This article was mostly a direct translation of theirs, so it seems the English Wikipedia has no expertise in this area. Samsara (talk  contribs) 09:01, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

references section[edit]

the reference section style used in this article looks like the Harvard referencing style. i think we should put "Cited sources" for exact statement citations and "General references" when an inline or no exact citation was made. --RebSkii 16:21, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

That seems like a good idea. I would suggest, though, per Wikipedia:Citing sources#Notes 2 that they be termed "References" and "Notes", or something like that, where "References" would contain the sources directly cited in the text. Dar-Ape 00:26, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Good choice of topic for article to be boosted to FA[edit]

After expansion, rewriting, peer review, GA, and then FAC. Whoever nominated it, good choice for a botany article to get up to snuff. KP Botany 00:32, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Waxy coating[edit]

I just added to the first paragraph of the section 'Adaptions to Dry Environment' to explain how some cacti use waxy coverings to their advantage. I'm fairly busy with homework so I thought someone could expand this with better volcabulary. Ironically my homework is about cacti. Cheers! Deepdreamer 19:09, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Translation from de:Wiki[edit]

Ongoing; results so far atCactus/Temp HeartofaDog 15:17, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

now about 4/5ths done (this is of course merely the requested translation of what is on the German Wikipedia - in terms of content, could be good, bad or indifferent).HeartofaDog 01:36, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
finished FWIW HeartofaDog 23:27, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Shallow roots[edit]

Should that be shallow roots in addition to deep tap roots, or do many species have shallow spreading roots only? KP Botany 00:49, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Found some details here Dalhousie University: Biology of Cacti and added them - MPF 12:44, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for clearing up the text. I'm not much of a cacti person (not that I don't grow and adore them, just don't study their biology much) and only knew about the deep tap roots of the columnar cacti and arial roots of the epiphytes, I suppose. KP Botany 21:32, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Two useful websites[edit]

Found these while looking for some info on particular cacti . . . MPF 12:44, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Dubious range size[edit]

My edit summary read:

request for source that MULTIPLE (as the wording suggests), or even any species have a range of < 0.00039 square miles (<.25 acres), sounds dubious

My plot for my old house is about .25 acres, so this is hard to believe. Ufwuct 19:06, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Years later ... anyway, perhaps the article mentioned it because it's hard to believe. Cacti often have very narrow distributions, partly because they split into different species easily, partly because their habitat hasn't been investigated that well, and partly because the right habitat for a cactus may be scarce. I don't have any references handy, but the .25 acre figure sounded plausible. JöG (talk) 21:36, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

Spell Check?[edit]

I just went through the article and corrected the two typo's I actually found, unless there is something wrong with Latin/Greek spellings or names I don't see the point of the tag anymore :/. Deepdreamer 18:57, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

The text reads: "The flowers, mostly radially symmetrical and hermaphrodite, bloom either by day or by night, depending on species. Their shape varies from tube-like through bell-like to wheel-shaped, and their size from 0.2 to 15-30 meters."

I am no botanist but I doubt that there are any flowers 15-30 metres in size. Does the 15-30 refer to the overall size of the plants or is it a typo for either centimeters or millimeters?

Dave Mason

I am an avid cactus collector, and my collection includes cacti whose flowers indeed vary from 0.2 to 15-30 centimeters.

Reynsaunders (talk) 20:55, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Tree Cholla picture[edit]

While you may be proud of your work, Staplegunter, please do not keep inserting this picture. It is more appropriate for the tree cholla (Opuntia imbricata) article and has been removed by at least 3 separate editors, indicating that there is no consensus to include it. pschemp | talk 04:45, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

The plant in this picture is overexposed and difficult to see on a computer screen, so the image is probably not appropriate for another article, either. Also, it's a landscaped specimen of a common plant, so time to get an excellent image is available. Please feel free to reshoot and upload, if there is a place and space, to the article pointed to by User:pschemp, as it is a common landscaping plant in certain areas of the United States. Thank you. KP Botany 04:54, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Staplegunther, Inserting the picture in Opuntia isn't appropriate either. I'm trying to be constructive here, and you are ignoring consensus. Please put the picture in the correct place, or take a better one and get consensus. pschemp | talk 17:49, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

GA Review Feedback[edit]

For an article on an entire family of plants (esp. one as well studied as the Cactaceae) 5-10 references is insufficient. Please feel free to renominate the article after the citation problem is addressed. Most of the article is unverified and contains no sources. Until this is done it's not (in my opinion) worth reviewing the article more completely for WP:GA. MidgleyDJ 10:30, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Well that's a bit dismissive. References is only one issue, it exists because it was translated from German, and your refusal to even look at the rest of it is disappointing. I remember now why I just skip GA altogether and write FAs. pschemp | talk 14:05, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
I disagree that this failed GA is on unsound grounds. The Cactaceae are one of the most extensively researched and written about plant families around. In addition, unlike some other well-researched plant families, there is a huge body of research material in the Cacataceae that takes from the scientific literature and translates it for laymen. A search for books on cacti at Amazon returns over 30,000 results, somewhere in the range of the orchid family. My local library has a half shelf of books on the cacti, and the rest of the shelf is devoted to cacti and succulents. There are major cacti and succulent groups in almost every major city in North and South America. I had never noticed the low number of references for this article, but it is really poor considering the availability of materials.
In addition, this page is a redirect from Cactaceae yet the article mentions Pereskia only in an image. If this article is en.Wikipedia's Cactaceae article and the text contains nothing about Pereskia and cactus evolution, it simply cannot be a GA, and should do even worse as a FAC. The German article even mentions the Edwards, Reto and Donoghue paraphyly question.[1]
We have so few botanists working on any of the Wikipedias, and the few botanical editors tend to work in their specialized areas (Banksia, Carnivorous plants) so that basic articles such as this one get ignored, and glaring prloblems only come to light when they are nominated for GA or FAC and a botanist or botanical editor critically dumps it for a glaring omission as User:MidgleyDJ has rightly done with this one. KP Botany 03:55, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, sorry I have to agree. I did some work on this a few months ago but the gulf between what is on hte article and what is required in terms of referencing is so significant it was going to fail anyway.cheers, Cas Liber | talk | contribs 04:29, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Hi All - I didnt mean to be dismissive here, apologies if anyone took my comments that way. The article simply doesnt meet GA standards at this point - until the major problems (which are coverage and referencing) are addressed I didnt see any point in doing a detailed review (after all it's likely to change substantially once the citations are included). Cheers, David. :-). MidgleyDJ 05:20, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately this is a glaring omission for this article, the lack of references and a broad approach for such a well-researched subject. The Germans are world renowned cactus and succulent collectors, so a general article, not researched in depth, on the German Wiki would be likely. Translating it gave us more than we had, but I had not noticed how little there was, until it was pointed out in declining the GA status, as I grow the plants, but don't either collect or study them botanically. KP Botany 01:11, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

section deleted[edit]

Why was the section "Cacti in culture" deleted? (see [2])Dan Gluck 06:31, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

The removal is here and the reason stated was "all relevent info already in Opuntia, to which this information actually refers". I'd agree with the placement on Opuntia (unless someone wants to present the case otherwise), although I'm not sure exactly what we should say about the subject and whether any of our sources are very good (the Opuntia article cites The Economist which is not bad as a reliable source but the article in question just has one offhand mention of the term sabra). I can't evaluate the Hebrew sources (English is best, per Wikipedia:Verifiability#Sources in languages other than English but only if the English source is as good as the Hebrew one in other ways). Kingdon 14:33, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

Cactuses vs Cacti[edit]

I looked at about 4 or 5 dictionaries, and all said that the plural can be either cactuses or cacti (with few of them expressing a preference). The implicit rule which KP Botany (talk · contribs) (in a revert of today) and MrDarwin (talk · contribs) (on this talk page, 16 March 2006) seem to be following is that given the lack of a preference between those two, we should stick with the way the article has been written, and not mess with it. Seems like an OK rule to me. Kingdon 17:16, 5 July 2007 (UTC)


I'm translating this version into Vietnamese version. I don't know clearly this phrase: although these flower as early as their second year (in the Description). Please help me. Thanks a lot for the answering so far. Es.ntp (Talk) 11:26, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

It is a bit clumsy: I will give a try. There are cactus which live only 25 years. These cactus (with a short life-time) produce flowers and reproduce at very young age (compared to other cactus): in their second year of life. jmcw (talk) 12:09, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
In this phrase, the word "flower" is being used as a verb, so it means "those cacti [produce flowers] as early as their second year of sprouting (from the ground)". By the way, for the above sentences, the word "cactus" is being used incorrectly. Cacti is the plural form of cactus, so User:Jmcw37 should have said, "There are cacti which live [for] only 25 years". - M0rphzone (talk) 06:44, 21 January 2012 (UTC)


According to merriam-webster the plural can also be "cactuses" or "cactus". Wictionary also lists "cactuses", as does the UK Cobuild Dictionary according to this source: (which also mentions the use of "cactus" as a plural form). -- BrianFennell (talk) 03:00, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

This can't be right..[edit]

"Like other succulents, cacti have a range of specific adaptations that enable them to survive in these environments, such as intaking large quantities of tequila during particularly dry spells."

This must be a mistake... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:17, 23 August 2009 (UTC) no matter what anyone says about the plural, CACTUS IS NOT THE PLURAL AND should be removed... It's bad enough stupid PEOPLE create common terms like "cactuses" that are added to dictionaries when IT'S incorrect, but to use the singular as the plural pisses me off. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:01, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

What are they like?[edit]

hi cactuses are very prickley so dont sit on them otherwise u will have a prickley bum —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:16, 7 September 2009 (UTC)


Has anybody merged Cactus/Temp into this article yet? It's been sitting, advertising it's a temporary article, for about a year now. (talk) 23:49, 1 October 2009 (UTC) hello, this does not make sence!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:35, 22 October 2009 (UTC)


i am doing sience i need more information plese help thanks, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:38, 22 October 2009 (UTC)


The new cultivation section has some good information, but I have several concerns about it:

1. It is completely uncited.

2. It's region specific. It focuses on cultivation issues relevant to central Europe (is this a translation?), which may not be relevant to someone living in Australia, say.

3. It's quite long. It takes up well over 50% of the article. Perhaps it could be made into a separate article, then summarized on this page with a link to the new article? Tdslk (talk) 22:29, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

This was merged in from an article called Cactus/Temp (something like that), which was a translation from the German wikipedia. It's not my content, I just merged it. Dondegroovily (talk) 03:19, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Okay. In that case I'm going to go ahead and delete the section unless someone wants to rehabilitate it. Tdslk (talk) 05:28, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
I'll leave thid as a bookmark so we can review and add bits and pieces if need be with reffing. Casliber (talk · contribs) 08:00, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

I don't know what happened in the end, but the current cultivation section is completely uncited and makes a number of very curious statements. Last time I checked, authors disagreed wildly on most of this, as in "this way of cultivation works for me, so it must be the only possible way". I'm placing a few [citation needed] in there. JöG (talk) 10:04, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

The assertment that Toumeya papyracantha needs fungi and grasses to survive (that's what "symbiosis" means) is particularly dubious, since a simple google search will show plenty of speciments grown in pots with no grasses in sight. JöG (talk) 10:15, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

Absorbs moisture through skin?[edit]

Cacti could really hurt a person so stop this and we together can fight cacti..xx

"The plant body itself is also capable of absorbing moisture (through the epidermis and the spines)" 

This remarkable feat deserves a few words of explanation and certainly needs a citation! Zipzip50 (talk) 14:16, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Cactus Leaves[edit]

There's a picture of cactus pads that calls them cactus leaves. It should link to: Nopal . ~~ — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:58, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Feel free to click the blue "edit" link on that page and fix it. WP:Anyone can edit. Bob the WikipediaN (talkcontribs) 17:10, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
This page is protected from excessive vandalism, so the IP editor can't edit this page. But I took care of it, linking instead to wikt:cladode. Rkitko (talk) 18:43, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

It could be argued that this is a common fact that many cacti can intake water via their skin (epidermis) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:57, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Revising the article[edit]

I'm having a bit of a drive to revise this article, both to make it more "standard" in its structure as per Wikipedia:WikiProject Plants/Template and to improve the content. All assistance is welcome! Peter coxhead (talk) 19:19, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

It gets frustrating when subject matter covers both structure and function - so some of the material in description would be good to go in some sort of ecology section, but splitting it might break the flow....hmmmm. Casliber (talk · contribs) 19:46, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, this was intended only as a very first move in trying to sort out this article. In one way cacti are easy to write about: structure, function and evolution are tightly and logically linked, quite different from say the Asparagaceae sensu APG III. But this also makes it difficult, I think, to split up the material. I echo your "hmmmm"! I suspect it may be better to get the content right first and then think about exactly how to arrange it.
At present I'm mainly concerned that the article contains somewhat inaccurate or unclear information. I've corrected some of it. Some of the things still to be sorted include:
  • "In most species of cacti the leaves have evolved into spines ..." – this implies that those species which have lost leaves have replaced them with spines, which is wrong.
  • The stuff about water being absorbed through the spines seems to be wrong, too.
  • What areoles are isn't clearly explained.
  • The phylogeny subsection should be expanded to include evolution; the two Edwards et al. papers (2005 & 2006) cover this well, but are very technical and not easy to reduce to the right level. Now done, though more could be added. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:25, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
  • The cultivation section is poor and not referenced.
  • A lot more can be written on their ethnobotany.
  • etc.
I own Anderson's The Cactus Family, which is a massive and authoritative work, so access to information isn't my problem. I'd avoided working on this article, even though its poor quality bothered me, simply because there's so much information about cacti around that it's hard to reduce and organize. Peter coxhead (talk) 23:29, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Having an authoritative oeuvre is a big plus in getting the structure and content to include right. Just keep adding stuff until the article hits about 60-70 kb (i.e. double the size it is now) and then we can add some recent taxonomy stuff and away we go....Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:38, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

I have now added an entire new section, currently entitled "Morphology". It describes the structure without going into the function, which is to be dealt with later. As there is some material in the old "Description" section not yet covered, I have left it as an "Introduction". This is intended to be temporary and I will be removing stuff from the "Introduction". Feel free to edit! Peter coxhead (talk) 11:50, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes, that's the idea. I think a smidgen of funciton in the morphology section is ok - I'd be inclined to put the material on roots in a function/ecology section as it looks a bit stubby if you leave out the function and silly if split into two disparate bits. I am about to hit the hay here as it is after midnight - will look more tomorrow. Casliber (talk · contribs) 13:13, 13 February 2012 (UTC)


I've now started a new section on "Adaptations for water conservation". When this is complete, the two sections "Morphology" and "Adaptations for water conservation" should cover almost all the material currently in "Introduction". My intention then would be to use this material to write an expanded lead and remove the "Introduction" section, which is an anomaly in terms of the usual structure of WP articles.

Whether or not it's a good idea to separate "structure" and "function" in the way I'm currently doing isn't entirely clear to me, but it seems to work reasonably well. Peter coxhead (talk) 12:29, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

I've now produced an extended lead section out of the former "Introduction" section, giving this article a more standard Wikipedia structure. Comments welcome! Peter coxhead (talk) 12:05, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
My only comment is that you're doing some fantastic work here! Tdslk (talk) 15:59, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Origin of the name Cactus[edit]

The sources I've seen to date say that the name Cactus came from the mediaeval Latin name for the cardoon, which was itself derived from the Greek κάκτος, a name for an unknown spiky plant. They connect Cactus to the cardoon because both are spiky. However, Curtis Clark, writing here, has suggested what seems to me a much better explanation, namely that the fuzzy cephalium of a Melocactus somewhat resembles the capitulum of a cardoon, as well as both plants being spiky. It's known that what is now Melocactus caroli-linnaei N.P.Taylor was one of the first cacti to be sent to Europe (in the late 15th century).

I'd like to add this explanation to the article, but it needs a source. Anyone know of one? Peter coxhead (talk) 11:23, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Not as yet. It is intriguing I agree and would be good to add if it can be sourced...Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:35, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Cacti of the United States and Canada[edit]

Cacti of the United States and Canada, by Benson from 1982, is referenced heavily by some sources of this article. However, I can't find any signs of an actual copy of this book. Can anyone confirm the existance of the book, and find the text on a species that can have roots up to a meter long without ever penetrating the soil deeper than 10cm?--SvartMan (talk) 12:02, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Well, the book exists: see the catalogue entry here. Peter coxhead (talk) 12:25, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I own a copy, although it's currently packed away somewhere. If I run across it, I'll look.--Curtis Clark (talk) 04:42, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

yo whats the craic ! its ur boy niall here! i kno harry was editin this but i came here to say cacti is really super annoyin! they can hurt ya fingers but most importantly ur ass ! so becareful around these lil bastards they will hurt ya ! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:24, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Statement has unmerited prominence[edit]

Hi, IMO the statement "Cochineal is the product of an insect that lives on some cacti" is not important enough to this topic to merit a mention in paragraph one of the lead section. I think it looks odd there and should be moved. (talk) 11:12, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

Also, in the lead section, I think it would be good to explain the parts of the world to which cacti are native (esp. that they occur natively only in the New World). (talk) 11:56, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

I agree with both comments; I have revised the opening of the lead. Further comments welcome – or you can edit it yourself. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:29, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Cactus/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Ciaran Sinclair (talk · contribs) 09:15, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

I'll review this! Ciaran Sinclair (talk)

  • "With the exception of one species, cacti are native to the Americas" The name of the species should probably be mentioned, as well as where the species can be found.
 Done Added additional sentence to the lead. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:12, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Bottom right image on 'Cactus areoles' doesn't mention what species is in the image.
Um... The only image I could find in Commons (or elsewhere with the right license) which showed what I wanted, namely that the flower is produced above the spines at an areole, was It wasn't identified. I cleaned it up in Photoshop to, still unidentified. Commons user Uleli then added a category which identifies the species as Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus. This is plausible, but without some explanation of how the identification was reached, I'm reluctant to accept it. This is one of the serious problems with plant images in Commons: there's usually no source to support the identification. I'm confident that it's a Cereus (or closely allied species), so I'll add this to the caption. I'm not happy to go further without more evidence. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:12, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
Reevaluation after fixes
1. Well written?: Pass Pass
2. Factually accurate?: Pass Pass
3. Broad in coverage?: Pass Pass
4. Neutral point of view?: Pass Pass
5. Article stability?: Pass Pass
6. Images?: Pass Pass

the book exists, but it's rare and out of print. I dont have a copy, I do have a copy of Anderson's The Cactus Family, tho. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:59, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 25 March 2013[edit]

hello please let me edit this cactus wiki i have a few notes about cacti i once got stabbed by a cactus thorn and i wanna show caution to the danger of cacti to all of the world please i would deeply appreciate it and would like to show concern about it if you did i would be very greatful to all thank you for reading this have a very nice night.. xx - Harry Styles (talk) 00:20, 25 March 2013 (UTC) If you create an account, and have it for four days and make 10 edits, then you will be autoconfirmed and can edit the article. However, anything you add needs to come from reliable sources and not your personal experience. RudolfRed (talk) 00:42, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Since cactus can grow in the desert, why not initiate a program "plant 1 trillion cacti in the desert"?[edit]

Then the desert will turn into a green terrain and at the same time they can be used as a food and herbal medicine source in the economic perspective. (talk) 06:33, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Deserts can only support a limited number of plants which compete fiercely for water. If you went to an naturally desert area which supported cacti, and planted a lot more, it's likely that almost all would die. Desert cacti are also mostly very slow growing. Those cacti which are used commercially as food, e.g. pitaya, are not desert plants. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:28, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

cacti not cactuses[edit]

I may only be x years old, but even I know that the plural is not generally cactuses, but cacti, and I feel that this should be expressed on a public webpage full of information. I feel that this fact should be made obviously availiable on this page.

thank you

Choc81694 (talk) 08:16, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

I would like to request an edit[edit]

I feel that the plural problem should be changed to make it more obvious

thank you Choc81694 (talk) 08:21, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

I agree with you in as much as I would never myself use any plural other than "cacti". However, Wikipedia must reflect what reliable sources say, not what you and I think. The additional use of "cactuses" and even "cactus" as the plural is supported by the entry in Merriam-Webster, and other dictionaries also have "cactuses" (e.g. Oxford Dictionaries), so I think the page has to be left as it is. Note that the article always uses "cacti" and never the other two. Peter coxhead (talk) 17:39, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

tallest free-standing cactus?[edit]

The article claims that the Pachycereus pringlei, with a maximum recorded height of 19.2 m (63 ft) is the tallest. But saguaro can grow over 20 m (70 ft) tall, with the tallest being recorded. Is the saguaro not free standing for some reason?

sources: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jmf145 (talkcontribs) 10:31, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

I looked this up. Turns out, the answer is... well, kind of. The tallest cactus ever measured was an armless saguaro cactus near Cave Creek, Arizona which grew to be 78 feet tall; it blew over in a windstorm in 1986. Another very tall saguaro cactus blew over some time later. The tallest living saguaro cactus that I can find a record of is only 45 feet tall. So, saguaro cactuses can grow to be taller than the tallest pachycereus pringlei specimen we've measured, but it appears that the tallest cactus in the world right now is a pacycereus pringlei specimen, not a saguaro. I added a note to this effect in the article. Titanium Dragon (talk) 09:42, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 29 December 2014[edit]

I would like to add as external link. GioviQ (talk) 09:46, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: -Unnecessary piling of external links is strongly discouraged and prohibited. Is there something that this external links mention not covered in present article? If yes, then it'd be better if you use it to expand the article a little, please propose your changes based on source in a "change X to Y" to format. Anupmehra -Let's talk! 10:41, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

in there are a lot of photos useful to identify cactus and other succulents. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:54, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Not done. G S Palmer (talkcontribs) 21:24, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

Suggested edits 8-5-15[edit]

Please review the following:

"Almost all cacti are succulents. Unlike many other succulents, the stem is the only part of most cacti where this vital process takes place. Cactus stems store water."

Succulents is linked twice in recurring sentences, which makes the link redundant. The wording is also awkward. Perhaps this would be better:

"Almost all cacti are succulents, meaning they have adapted to store water. Unlike many other succulents however, the stem is the only part of most cacti where this vital process takes place." (talk) 18:55, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

 Done Yes, I agree that it was awkward. The previous sentence is part of the same thread. I've expanded a bit on what "succulent" means, changing to:
"Cacti show many adaptations to conserve water. Almost all cacti are succulents, meaning they have thickened, fleshy parts adapted to store water. Unlike many other succulents, the stem is the only part of most cacti where this vital process takes place."
Good call. Peter coxhead (talk) 06:10, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

Cactus and Cactaceae[edit]

While this is the name of a Plant family, the name Cactacea is apter as all families are named that way. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vinayaraj (talkcontribs) 05:47, 13 March 2016 (UTC)

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Thorny problem?[edit]

From the current article.

First paragraph.

"Most species of cacti have lost true leaves, retaining only spines, which are highly modified leaves."

Second paragraph.

"Cactus spines are produced from specialized structures called areoles, a kind of highly reduced branch"

Thorns are modified branches. Do cacti have both thorns and spines? AnnaComnemna (talk) 10:20, 23 September 2017 (UTC)

No, it's generally said that the "spines" of cacti are true spines, i.e. are modified leaves, produced from highly condensed branches, the areoles. On the other hand, the "floral tubes" of cacti bear areoles, which is odd if they are branches. Peter coxhead (talk) 12:08, 23 September 2017 (UTC)