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Succulents

Succulents are plants that has evolved to grow in dry areas and retain water. Their leaves and stems have evolved to loose as little water as possible.. Many species also have different ways of storing large amounts of water under rainy periods to help survive more unfavorable periods. Some succulents store in the body of the plants while others have developed to store the water underground in tuberous roots, corms, bulbs, and rhizomes. It is not always 100% clear if a certain species should be consider a succulent or not.

Succulents are not to be confused with a cactus; All (Virtually all) cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti. Cacti are succulents that have their spines growing from small “pillows” known as areoles. The areoles are actually a kind of highly reduced branch. Areoles are an identifying feature of cacti. Other types of succulents can have spines as well but they will not be attached on areoles but rather directly to the plant if it is another type of succulent. It is hence easy to tell cacti from other types of succulents.

Succulents and cactus species are popular garden and house plants. They do however have a number of other uses. Example of other uses include the use of Agave to make Tequila and Aloe that is use in health and beauty products. Other succulents are used as everything from salad material to hallucinogenic drugs.

Succulents can be found in a large part of the world but are mots common in tropic and subtropic areas with dry climate. There are a number of succulents that can tolerate very high salinity levels and therefore can be found in coastal areas and mangrove swamps. A number of different succulents grows as epiphytes that attaches themselves to tree limbs, rocks and other areas where they have no contact with the ground

It is important to remember that although succulents are predominantly found in dry areas with long dry periods there is species that are found in very wet areas such as in swamps. This means that it is important to find out the needs of the succulent species you want to keep so that you are able to give them the care they want. Ideally you should read up on a species before you buy it so that the species you buy is suitable for your conditions. A species that want a lot of water might not be suitable for a desert garden, a high species might not be suitable for a cactus garden in a windy area etc.