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Arizona Wild Bird Photos
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Let's take a look at how a cactus survives on the desert
in times of drought.

Most all cactus have the ability to store moisture in their main stock, leaves/pads, stems, & roots.
Let's take a look at this Beaver tail or Opuntia basilaris a very common cactus in Arizona.


This cactus has been with out sufficient water for quite some time and you can see it in how thin the Pads/leaves are yellow/black arrows. The red arrow is pointing to where the pad/leaf has started shrivel and is causing the pad/leaf to bend or become concave in shape due to no water intake by the cactus.

Note the increase in the thickness of the pads on this cactus that has been watered on a regular basis. These pads are approx. 3 times thicker than the cactus on your left. Both of these cactus will store as much water as they can when ever they get watered or it rains. Also note the cactus on your left has started to turn brown due to the lack of water.

What does the cactus have that other plants or succulents don't have.
In other words what makes a cactus a cactus.

It is its "Areole".
Only the cactus have these.
They are the hairy pads, or buds that the thorns, and
flowers, and new cactus sproutings grow from.


So that you will have a better understanding of just what these are,
I will show a few images of them.


Opuntia paraguayensis

Prickly pear

The yellow arrow is pointing to the "Areole".


Chain fruit Cholla

Looks a bit different but its the same.


Bunny ears.






I did this one so you could see the buds or blooms do come from the "Areole".


Do not confuse the saw like teeth on the leaf margins of this
Spanish Dagger for
"Areoles" as on a cactus.
This is a Succlulent.


what's on the site Cactus index.