Why is the group of succulent plants so popular nowadays? Its strange forms, its low maintenance, and especially its low water demands do of this singular genre that we could have plants without scarcely taken care.
WHAT ARE SUCCULENT PLANTS?
This type of plant is characterized by having organs which act like a type of deposit where they can store a remarkable amount of liquid, which will be released depending on the water needs of the plant. These types of deposits are found in the leaves and stems.
HOW DO THEY PRESERVE THE LIQUID FOR AVOIDING DEHYDRATATION?
For avoiding dehydration succulent plants have considerably reduced the number of their stomata - microscopic organs that allow the plants to perform the function of transpiration - minimizing the evaporation of the liquid to the maximum.
On the other hand Succulents have developed other types of mechanisms:
- They have replaced leaves with thorns, which mean the surface where transpiration takes place has practically disappeared- as is the case of the cactus.
- They have developed leaves with waxy substances or fluff, in the case of Succulents.
AND WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CACTUS?
Within the Group of the Succulent plants we must distinguish a particular family, the cacteaceaes, comprising of a different group to the cactus, which have particular characteristics.
Cactus can be distinguished by the arrangement of spines on the stem; there are some small round pads from which emerge the thorns, branches, leaves and flowers.
Coming to this point, although all cacti are succulent, not all Succulents are cacti.
WHERE DO THE DIFFERENT SUCCULENTS COME FROM?
Most of these plants come from desert areas of the world, but not only there, we can also find a large number of them in tropical forest areas or in areas with very different climates, so they are actually plants with great adaptability. They are acclimated, currently, almost in all parts of the world.
However, there are limits as well:
-In the African continent, there are few plants of this type since the drought periods are too long, but even so the list isn't short: Cotyledon orbiculata, Portulacaria afra prostrata, Crassula ovata, Delosperma cooperi, Kalanchoe sexangularis, or Aloe zebrina, are some of the succulents native to this continent.
A lot of Succulents are native to Europe, mainly Sedums and Sempervivens,
- Sedum album, Sedum hispanicum Sedum hirsutum, Sedum acre, Sedum dasyphylum, Sedum rupestre,
- Sempervivum cantabricum, Sempervivum arachnoideum, Sempervirens montanum, Sempervirens heuffelii, Sempervivum marmoreum, Sempervivum calcereum.
- And also native are Euphorbia paralias, Euphorbia myrsinites, the Salicornia or the Mesembryanthemum crysallinum.
A large number of them, mostly cactus, except for 4 or 5 varieties are native to the American continent.
- Succulents of South America include: Peperomia rotundifolia, Callisia repens, which is a Tradescancia, or the climber Anredera codifolia, Chorisia repens or Silk floss tree, which is a beautiful tree, Euphorbia cotinifolia or Caribbean copper tree, or the beautiful hanging succulent Rhipsalis baccifera, in addition to the 128 different species of cactus Echinopsis, for example the Echinopsis Scopolica, also of very erect, or the Echinopsis mamillosa, a small cactus, whose flowers are much larger than the own cacti. Leninghuasii from Brazil of spherical shape when they are small and tubular as adults.
- From North America and Mexico are the vast majority of the cactus
From North America Dudleya Virens and Dudleya Hassey and also the Ferrocactus.
In Mexico: Echeveria pulvinata, Graptopetalum paraguayense, the famous Sedum morganianum or burro´s tail, Agave filifera, the columnar one Pachycereus marginatus or the famous Saguaros, Oupuntias, Stenocereus thurberi can branch out in different columns.
- Central America are lands for Echeveria gibbiflora 'metallica', USS ramulosa, is a beautiful hanging variety with long red leaves.
- On the Asian continent we can find far less succulent species, included in these are Lawrencia helmsii and Daviesia Euphorbioides, which are succulent but have very similar characteristic signs.
HOW ARE SUCCULENTS CLASSIFIED?
Regarding the classification of Succulents, the following are the most important families which includes, at the same time, the most relevant genus and species of this vast group of Succulents:
- Agavaceae, are not recommended for cultivation in indoor plants. They are short stems plants with a rosette of thick leaves, or long-stemmed and thinner leaves. Agavaceaes are provided of long and deep roots, and flowers on a tall stem that sprout from the axils of the bracts.
- Apocinaceas. Different types of plants are part of this family , among them two particular genera: Adenium, of beautiful flowers during the summer and slow growth, and Pachipodium, which is characterized by its erect stem filled of spikes and crowned by rows of green leaves.
- Aizoaceaes or Mesembriantemaceaes.
- Asclepiadaceas: Includes a large number of genus, it is unadvisable as indoor cultivation since some of them are plants of beautiful flowers but unbearable smell, as it is the case of the Stapelia.
- Cacteaceaes: composed by thousands of species of very diverse morphology, there are Crassus trunks, cylindrical, spherical with reliefs, branched, etc... Being a so large family there is a further subdivision: Opuntiae, Pereskiae and Cereae.
- Comelinaceas. It is also a large family comprising about 500 different species. The best known, Tradescancia and Senecios.
- Crassulaceae. They are fleshy plants of large differences among themselves. In this group are included genus such as the well known Aeonium, cotyledons, Crassulas, Echeverias, Kalanchoes, the Sedums or Sempervivums.
- Euphorbiaceae. Succulents are included in this family and others that aren't as Euphorbia pulcherrima or Poinsettia.
- Liliaceae. Plants as varied as the Aloes, asparagus, lilies or tulips belong to this family.
- Mesembriantemaceas or Aizoaceaes. Plants native to South Africa. Usually theyare small, creeping plants or with two leaves such as the famous Lithops or stone cactus.
- Portulacaceaes. are included here as popular as the Portulacas oleraceaes, Portulacas, or Portulacarias plants.
All these types of plants, in general are low maintenance ones, needing little watering, although they will still need taking care of.
For this reason and so that you can take care of them perfectly, we offer you a MINIGUIDE so that you can easily attend to your succulents