Cactus Facts for Kids
Before we jump into our list of fun cactus facts for kids, it’s important to know that the plural for cactus is cacti. Cactuses do not exist, no matter how cool that word may sound.
Now that we got that out of the way, we can jump into our list of cactus facts for kids. But wait, don’t forget to check out the FREE cacti pages at the bottom of the post. There is an adorable coloring page with cacti and a sloth (both slow movers), a cactus maze, and how to draw a cactus.
The Different Species of Cacti
Did you know that there are more than 2,000 different species of cacti? The four most common species of cacti include the Golden Barrel Cactus, the Prickly Pear Cactus, the Rhipsalis, and Saguaro Cacti.
Some types of cacti are endangered or threatened species, meaning that they struggle to survive in their environmental conditions. Some of these cacti species include the Arizona Hedgehog Cactus and the Pima Pineapple Cactus.
Cactus Facts for Kids – Where in the World are the Cacti?
Did you know that cacti are native to the Americas? They can be found in parts of western Canada all the way down to Argentina, and some cacti species can even be found in parts of Africa. Have you seen any cacti near where you live?
Cacti can survive in harsh environments, such as dry climates, and hot climates. They can live in dry areas like deserts or even rocky areas. One of the most popular places to find cacti is in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.
Cactus Facts for Kids – All About Cacti
Cacti store large amounts of water to help them survive for a long time in dry places. Water storage techniques are special adaptations that varieties of cacti have, even in dry, arid regions.
You can tell if a cactus is getting enough water by checking the color of its stem – if the stem is green, the cactus is getting enough water; if the stem is brown or dry, the cactus needs more water. Be careful, though, if cacti are over-watered, their roots can rot and they can die.
Characteristics of Cacti
Cacti come in all different sizes and a wide range of shapes. The different shapes and sizes of cacti can vary between the region and environment the species are living in from small, round cacti to tall, spiny cacti. Most cacti have sharp spines and thick skin to protect themselves from predators.
The tallest cactus is the Mexican Giant Cactus, with the tallest one of its kind measuring 63 feet high. That’s one tall cactus!
Many cacti have beautiful flowers with thick stems and a unique shape. These flowers often bloom at night and can be brightly-colored or white flowers. Some cacti even produce edible fruits! Would you eat the fruit of a cactus? How about if it was an ingredient in the jelly sandwich you ate for lunch? That’s right! Cactus fruits are often used to make jams and jellies.
Other uses of Cacti
Cacti can also be used to make dye for clothing and other items.
Cacti are used in traditional medicine by some cultures. The cactus plant can also be used for home remedies, such as cactus soap! Soap made with cactus sap is said to be good for skin conditions like eczema.
Some cacti have been used as food sources for animals, like goats and rabbits. Humans can actually eat cacti too! Be careful, though, some species of cacti can be toxic.
Cacti can be used to create fences or barriers.
Cactus sap is sometimes used as a natural insect repellent.
Cacti can be used in landscape design to add interest and texture. Would you put a cactus in your front yard? How about in your house? Cacti can also make great houseplants. Since they are succulent plants, they don’t need a lot of water and can tolerate low light conditions.
Cactus Facts for Kids – Fun Facts
Now that you learned all about cacti, where they live, what they look like, and what they can be used for, would you get a cactus plant? You can grow cacti outside in the right environment or in your very own home!
If you’re not ready to commit to being a cactus owner just yet, that’s okay! You can still enjoy the beauty of cacti from afar without fear that you may be poked or pricked.
Cacti are beautiful and unique plants that can be found in several parts of the world today, so get out there and go find some (even if it’s just in pictures). And the next time you see cacti, make sure to share some of these cactus facts for kids with your friends and family. I’m sure they will love them just as much as you do!
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