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Difference between cactus and succulents

This is a recurring question that many of us ask ourselves when we begin to discover these species.

Over time, there has been much confusion among people regarding these terms.

Today we want to comment on it, so that we learn to recognize our little plants and know a little more about them. Make yourself comfortable and pay close attention .


First of all, we must be clear that succulents are a group that includes cacti. That is, all cacti are succulents , which belong to different families. Not so the succulents, as there are some varieties, which like the cactus, also have thorns, but are not of the cactaceae family, as is the case of the American Agave Variegata (family Agavaceae), for example.

American Agave Variegata – Photo by mimercadito.cl

The succulent or succulent plants are those that accumulate and store water in their leaves, stems and roots. The most common, have their plump or padded leaves water product, which allows them to be durable with little irrigation.


On the other hand, the cactus (succulents belonging to the Cactaceae family), have an important meaty stem where they reserve water, which may or may not have thorns, depending on their species.

But, how can we differentiate them from each other? Be careful, here is the secret!

One of the characteristics that will help us distinguish a cactus within the rest of the succulents, are the so-called “Areolas”. Basically an areola, it is a small node from where the dreaded and painful thorns are born.

They appear as bumps of light or dark colors on the edges. The areolas, also give rise to the detachable glochids, which are those finite spines, which look like little hairs and that just by touching them, ¡OUCH!




[From the areolas the flower also grow in some cactaceous species.]


Regarding the similarities, we think that the best and most important, is that they all have a particular beauty, which makes them special. They are plants that will undoubtedly never cease to amaze and amaze us with their multiple shades, textures and shapes.

Which succulents attract pollinating insects

Aizoaceae family