Cacti: Biology and Uses

Cacti: Biology and Uses
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Adaptations of Plants and Extremophiles - Biology for All - FuseSchool

Though most varieties expectedly exist in dry, arid and even desert regions, succulents can be found in almost every part of the world, literally from the Arctic through the northern hemisphere; near the equator and southward to the Antarctic. In fact, they occur anywhere where the natural condition might be described as one of privation.

Cacti are unevenly distributed. Its largest concentration is found around latitude of degree north and 30 degree south of the equator. South Africa and sub-tropical North and South America house the highest number of species and as well as being densely populated. The natural distribution pattern has been greatly influenced by human activities. Rhipsalis are today found in Africa, Madagascar and Sri Lanka. Certain species of Opuntia can be seen in Australia, where they were introduced as ornamental plants in the 18th century.

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Scientists are not too sure about the origin and evolution of cactus and other succulent plants. Hot, dry climates are not apparently conducive to the formation of fossils; thus they haven't been able to track the evolutionary history of succulent plants, and document them. A number of theories exist.

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Saya P Das, former rprc director, "An active centre of evolution could be the Canary Isles, long isolated from the mainland of Africa and with a high concentration of contrasting habitats in a small area. More than 31 endemic species are found in this small patch of land.

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Protection cultivation is gaining ground in many urban centres in India as well as in other parts of the world. The flowers of cacti are distinguished according to the manner of pollination and fertilization: either autogamous self-pollinated or allogamous cross-pollinated. Cross-pollination is widely prevalent in the whole cactus family. Usually, insects and birds pollinate its flowers. Cross-pollination is believed to be the reason behind the spread of wild cacti in arid zones. Self-pollination is common in Melocactous and Frailea and occasionally in Notocactus and Rebutia.

To evolve purely new and promising horticultural varieties, researchers have attempted to hybridise intra-specific categories and even have involved two or more different species via self-pollination.

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The vegetative forms that many species of cacti take are often of the following three kinds: monstrous, crested and variegated. The monstrous and crested forms are usually mutations; these can either appear as a seedling or as a branch on an otherwise normal plant. OSO version 0. University Press Scholarship Online. Sign in.

Cacti: Biology and Uses

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Cacti: Biology and Uses Park Nobel Abstract The Cactaceae family, with about 1, species, is cultivated worldwide for fruits, forage, fodder, and even as a vegetable. More The Cactaceae family, with about 1, species, is cultivated worldwide for fruits, forage, fodder, and even as a vegetable. Authors Affiliations are at time of print publication.

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Print Save Cite Email Share. Other chapters cover the different markets for cacti and products that are made from them. Keywords: Cactaceae , cacti , water , adaptations , biodiversity , conservation , morphology , genetics , molecular approaches , pest control. Forgot your password?

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Search my Subject Specializations: Select Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Cacti: Biology and Uses Park Nobel Abstract The Cactaceae family, with about 1, species, is cultivated worldwide for fruits, forage, fodder, and even as a vegetable.