Cactaceae or Cactus Family
The Cactaceae or Cactus Family has several distinguishing characters the most well-known are the ever-present protective spines which are modified leaves developed to minimize water transpiration, cool the plant and provide protection from would-be predators. Although it's well documented that many animals have adapted strategies to which the spines provide no relief. Cactuses, or the generally accepted term, cacti, come in many forms, shapes and sizes many with beautiful forms and flowers, often pleasantly scented to attract localized pollinators, both vertebrates and insects as well.
Most cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti.
Almost all traditional cacti are native to the Americas and are specialized to thrive in areas with minimal rainfall and extremely dry conditions.
In North America that area 53 genera and 465 accepted taxa overall for Cactaceae. The Plant List recognizes 174 genera and includes 2,047 species names.
Some of the largest Cacti genera in the Americas from the The Plant List; and in North America by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
- Carnegiea gigantea, Saguaro (updated 07/24/2017)
- Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa, Buckhorn Cholla (updated 07/24/2017)
- Cylindropuntia arbuscula, Arizona Pencil Cholla (updated 07/24/2017)
- Cylindropuntia bigelovii, Teddy Bear Cholla (updated 07/25/2017)
- Cylindropuntia fulgida, Jumping Cholla (added 11/27/2017)
- Cylindropuntia ganderi, Gander's Buckhorn Cholla (updated 08/22/2017)
- Cylindropuntia kleiniae, Klein's Pencil Cactus (updated 08/22/2017)
- Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, Christmas Cactus (updated 07/25/2017)
- Cylindropuntia spinosior, Walkingstick Cactus (updated 07/26/2017)
- Cylindropuntia tesajo, Baja Pencil Cholla (added 11/28/2017)
- Echinocereus bonkerae, Pinkflower Hedgehog Cactus (updated 07/26/2017)
- Echinocereus coccineus, Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus (updated 07/27/2017)
- Echinocereus engelmannii, Hedgehog Cactus (updated 07/27/2017)
- Echinocereus fasciculatus, Pinkflower Hedgehog Cactus (updated 07/27/2017)
- Echinocereus rigidissimus, Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus (updated 07/28/2017)
- Ferocactus cylindraceus, California Barrel Cactus (updated 07/29/2017)
- Ferocactus wislizeni, Candy Barrelcactus (updated 07/30/2017)
- Mammillaria grahamii, Graham's Nipple Cactus (added 08/16/2017)
- Opuntia basilaris, Beavertail Pricklypear (updated 07/30/2017)
- Opuntia engelmannii, Cactus Apple (updated 08/02/2017)
- Opuntia macrocentra, Long-spined Prickly Pear (updated 08/07/2017)
- Opuntia macrorhiza, Twistspine Pricklypear (updated 08/07/2017)
- Opuntia phaeacantha, Tulip Pricklypear (updated 08/09/2017)
- Opuntia santa-rita, Santa Rita Pricklypear (updated 08/09/2017)
- Peniocereus johnstonii, Matraca, Pitayita, Saramatraca (updated 08/13/2017)