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Cactus Facts for Kids

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Want to learn about the cactus plant? Take a look at these cactus facts for kids!


You may be wondering…what is a cactus?  Well, a cactus is a greenish plant with pointy spikes.  Cacti like to grow in dry, rocky areas like the desert.  Cacti plants are also called succulents.  This means that they store water in their stems, roots, and spines.  In fact, a cactus can live over a year without any rain!  Amazing!

Check out some of these other fun facts about cactus for kids!

Cactus Facts for Kids

Fun Facts about cactus

Cacti are all different shapes and sizes

There are over 2000 types of cacti, each with their own unique look!  A cactus can be tall, short, round, or flat.  Some cacti are even shaped liked starfish or snakes!  While the majority of cacti are green, there are cacti that may be bluish, yellow, or even red!

Cacti have a waxy surface

Because the cactus lives in the desert, they need to save as much water as they can to live long healthy lives.  The waxy outer skin of the cactus helps them to keep water stored inside of them.  Their waxy surface gives cacti the ability to go long periods without water.

Flowers grow on cacti

Some cacti will flower and when they do, they are very beautiful!  The flowers on a cactus can be a variety of colors including white, pink, yellow, red, orange and blue!  It is true that certain cacti flowers will bloom for only one night.  Other cacti flowers will bloom for weeks.  Many cacti flowers are actually nocturnal, meaning that they only bloom at night.  How cool is that?

Cactus Facts for Kids

Cacti have spines

Seen as sharp spikes on a cactus, these pointy pricklers are technically known as spines.  Spines can be straight, curved, round, or hooked.  Cacti spines help to protect the plant from birds, animals, and other creatures.  They also help the cactus to keep its stored water from escaping, and to keep the plant from getting sunburn.  In addition, new cacti can grow from fallen spines.   

The lifespan of a cactus varies greatly

Cacti can live for many years.  While some cacti live for just about ten years, other cacti can survive for up to 200 years, depending on their species!  Because of special adaptations to its roots, stems, and skin, cacti are able to thrive in a desert environment.  Cactus facts adaptations include a short root system, spines, a thick stem, and waxy skin!

Ants are friends to the cactus plant

Cacti produce an irresistibly sweet nectar which attract ants.  The ants then become like little soldiers to the cacti, aiding and protecting the plant.  Ants assist the cactus plant by attacking small harmful critters that are able to pass easily through the spines of a cactus.  They also fight off bacteria and fungi that might end up hurting the plant. 

The Saguaro cactus is the largest cactus in the United States

Typically a Saguaro cactus reaches about 40 feet tall.  However, the tallest Saguaro ever recorded was towering over 78 feet tall!  Wow!  A Saguaro cactus reaches its full height when it is approximately 200 years old. 

Cactus Facts for Kids

Some types of cacti are edible

Almost all fruit that grows from a cactus is edible.  Depending on the type of cactus, some other parts of the plant can also be eaten.  Some edible cacti include dragon fruit, prickly pear, and barrel cactus!  Edible cacti can be eaten raw, boiled, fried, or grilled. 

Cacti spines are very useful

The spines of a cactus have many uses.  Cacti spines have been used for gramophone needles, toothpicks, fishing hooks, and even as teeth on hair combs!

interesting cactus facts for kids

The cactus is a very original and fascinating plant.  With its unique shape, prickly spine, and night blooming flowers, it’s no surprise that the cactus is one special succulent!

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