Succulents and Cacti

Succulent plants are not just cacti. This whole group have some of the most wonderful adaptations. They often share a particular adaptation known as crassula acid metabolism. This means that they can store carbon dioxide in the their own tissue at night when temperatures are lower and use it during the day.



Adapted to dry conditions many of the best come from the deserts and arid conditions of south Africa.

Euphorbias, the spurges.

Euphorbia horrida

Massive group that seems to take on every plant form, not all are succulent, I have annual weeds of this genus growing next to my spuds.

Asclepiadacea, Stapelias and others. Flowers like rotting starfish.

Orbea variagata

These have bizarrely beautiful flowers for attracting carrion flies.

Aloes and their kin.

Haworthia truncata

African again with some great examples of convergent evolution.

The Crassulas. Stonecrops,

Crassula budda temple

Variation on rosette formers.

Cacti, or cactuses, apparently both are ok.


All except one come from the Americas

A few others

sennecio stapeliformis

Some others from other families, this one is senecio stapeliformis

Fat Plants. The Caudiciforms

ficus palmerii Members of lots of families form enlarged roots, the definition of a caudiciform is a bit vague and is often stretched.