Plant and Garden

Succulents are Succs and Sucus but do NOT Suck@ss!

Have you noticed people calling them succs.? Succulent comes from the word "sucus," which means juice or sap.

When it comes to plant classification, “Succulent” is a loose term with no single definition. It refers to any plant with fleshy parts. The leaves, stems, or roots store moisture to tolerate drought. Many collectors have given the plant a nickname of succs.

There are about 10,000 different types of succulent plants, about 2000 of which are in the cactus family.

The remaining succulents are from about 60 families of plants, including such commonly known groups as the poinsettia or spurge family, the periwinkle family, the milkweed family, the aloe family, the sesame family, the orchid family and even the grass family. 

Succulents Are Prehistoric.

The first succs sprung up when the earth’s climate became just right around 5 to 10 million years ago. Researchers propose that a prolonged dry spell and possibly lower levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide opened habitat that contributed to the rise of these plants and a broad vegetative makeover on Earth.

Cacti originated in South America before that landmass was connected to North America.

Today, Mexico is known for its wide variety of cacti that have evolved there.

South Africa is home to more types of succulents than anywhere else. In some regions, nearly all visible plant life is succulent, including the trees and shrubs.

Because they are full of water some succulents, like the popular lithops, mimic rocks. Others, like avonias, look like bird droppings in order to camoflauge themselves.

All Cacti are Succulents, but NOT all Succulents are Cacti

Can you drink from a cactus? No, cactus tissue is a lot like a cucumber without the seeds. Many containing poisonous, bitter alkaloid chemicals that make you vomit.

However, one of the most impressive features of cactus is that this plant serves as a natural water reservoir.

The liquid stored in it is not clear like water but looks like a thick viscous substance.

This liquid is absolutely safe for human consumption. It can be obtained for drinking by scratching or making a hole in the columnar cactus. This fluid has saved several lives in the desert regions.

The size of the leaf tells a story of its origins.

Smaller leafed succs grow better in higher elevations, their native habitat. Some sedums grow in alpine areas and produce small flowers in the early spring.

Many succulents have interesting pollinating mechanisms, such as the flowers of some stapeliads in the milkweed family that attract pollinating flies by looking and smelling like the flesh and fur of dead animals.

Cactus flowers are big in size; and are found in a variety of colors like red, yellow, pink, etc. Some of the cactus flowers can bloom for many days, while others may die within a day.

Many of these flowers bloom only during the nighttime and some of them require daylight. The nocturnal blooming species of this plant is primarily pollinated by bats and other nocturnal insects and animals.

The succulent plant’s lifespans vary and can be 300 years!

Family or subfamilySucculent #Modified partsDistribution
Agavoideae300LeafNorth and Central America
Cactaceae1600Stem (root, leaf)The Americas
Crassulaceae1300Leaf (root)Worldwide
Aizoaceae2000LeafSouthern Africa, Australia
Apocynaceae500StemAfrica, Arabia, India, Australia
Asphodelaceae500+LeafAfrica, Madagascar, Australia
Euphorbiaceae> 1000Stem, leaf, or rootAustralia, Africa, Madagascar, Asia, the Americas, Europe
Portulacaceae~500Leaf and stemThe Americas, Australia, Africa

Succulents Can Save Mankind!

• “Aloe vera,” aka Aloe barbadensis, has been used for its healing properties since 2200 BC. Rubbed on the skin, it promotes skin cell growth, especially helpful for burn patients.

• An African succulent called Hoodia in the milkweed family is known for its strong appetite suppressant properties.

Hoodia has long been used by native Africans on extended journeys and may eventually find its way into pharmaceuticals.

•Tequila comes from the distilled heart of the blue agave, Agave tequilana. Mescal comes from several different agaves gathered from the wild.

Approximately, 15 pounds of agave piñas or hearts are required to produce one liter of delicious tequila. Each plant is over seven years old before harvesting.

• Agave sisalana, native to Mexico, is a source of sisal or hemp and is grown as an agricultural crop in many tropical countries.

•Dioscorea elephantipes, elephant’s foot, make a precursor of cortisone. Th

medicinal traits of Euphorbia are used to treat inflammation-related disorders are distributed all over the genus, with special concentration in subgenus Chamaesyce and Euphorbia.

One example of a plant that is used to protect people from witchcraft attacks is Haworthia fasciata.

What Makes Succulent NOT Suck?

Not Only Are They Candy… BUT…

They Can Brighten A Home in Any Climate.
They Can Help to Purify the Air.
They Improve the Humidity of Your Home.
They Can Add Fresh Oxygen to Your Environment.
They Can Improve Your Focus.
They Can Increase Pain Tolerance.
They Enhance Memory.

Click to read Why We Need Plants Around Us from a page on our website.

NASA and Succulents….

NASA has determined natural, ongoing plant-based production of oxygen, and removal of carbon dioxide could help contribute to an improved and safer atmosphere aboard spacecraft for long-term space travel.

In the Cactus-Mediated Carbon Dioxide Removal in Microgravity (Space Tango Payload Card Cactus) experiment, the goal is to measure the oxygen (O2) output and the carbon dioxide (CO2) intake of a selected type of cactus plant.

This could be beneficial to future human space exploration if CO2 removal/O2 production can be replicated and maintained safely in a microgravity environment.

Let us know your ideas and comments below!

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