, the cactus
family, contains about 2000 species
of plants in 100-200 genera
. Cactaceae are generally
succulent plants, adapted for dry conditions. All have spine
s, enlarged leaf hairs adapted to protect the leaves from dessicaton, or from being eaten.
Cactaceae are native to North America
(NA) and South America
although genus Rhipsalis
may be native to South Africa, Madagascar
and various Indian Ocean Islands
Many cacti are valued as house or garden plants because of their novel
forms or beautiful flowers. Some produce edible fruit. Because of their
popularity, they have been introduced all over the world, some (especially
Opuntia) with devastating effects on local ecologies.
Division Magnoliophyta (formerly Phylum
Class Magnoliopsida (formerly Class Dicotyledonae)
Previously, Cactaceae had been divided into three tribes, Pereskieae,
Opunitieae, and Cacteae, with the latter being divided
into various subtribes, but biologists have elevated these tribes
to the status of subfamilies, with the attendant name changes.
Cactoideae contains most of the family's genera and species,
and has been further subdivided into eight tribes (which do not map to
the old subtribes of Cacteae). These associations are
still being determined, and some of the tribal assignments listed below
Tribe Browngieae (Cactanae) (SA):
Tribe Cacteae (NA):
Tribe Cereeae (SA):
Tribe Echinocereeae (Leptocereeae) (NA):
Tribe Hylocereeae (NA):
Tribe Notocacteae (SA):
Tribe Pachycereeae (NA):
Tribe Rhipsalideae (SA and Africa):
Tribe Trichocereeae (SA)
The genus Mila appears to be unplaceable at this time.
L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz (1992 onwards). The Families of Flowering
Plants: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval.
Version: 14th December 2000
Dallwitz (1980), Dallwitz, Paine and Zurcher (1993, 1995, 2000), and
Watson and Dallwitz (1991)
"A Brief Synopsis of Evolution in the Cactus Family" by Dr Robert S.
Justin Spiegel's Desert Cactus Page
The Cactus and Succulent Plant Mall: