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Distinctive Plant Families of the Southwest. Cactaceae, Agavaceae, and Fabaceae. Cactus The rest are not cacti. CACTACEAE: Cactus Family. Which is/are not a cactus? How do you know? Clue 1: All cacti are succulent but not all succulents are cacti Clue 2: Not everything spiny is a cactus.

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distinctive plant families of the southwest

Distinctive Plant Families of the Southwest

Cactaceae, Agavaceae, and Fabaceae

cactaceae cactus family

Cactus

The rest are not cacti

CACTACEAE: Cactus Family
  • Which is/are not a cactus? How do you know?
  • Clue 1: All cacti are succulent but not all succulents are cacti
  • Clue 2: Not everything spiny is a cactus
cactaceae cactus family1

Many petals and sepals that blend

Many anthers – usually hundreds

Several to many stigma lobes

CACTACEAE: Cactus Family
  • Unique Characteristics
    • Flower
cactaceae cactus family2
CACTACEAE: Cactus Family
  • Unique Characteristics
    • Areoles:modified branch containing buds, hairs, and spines
agavaceae agave family
AGAVACEAE: Agave Family
  • Most are evergreen leaf succulents with spine-tipped leaves arranged in a rosette
agavaceae agave family1
AGAVACEAE: Agave Family
  • Agave:
    • Most flower only once in lifetime (usually after 10-30 yrs)
    • Mostly pollinated by bats (provide complete diet).

Shin dagger (Agave schottii)

agavaceae agave family2
AGAVACEAE: Agave Family
  • Yucca:
    • Flower annually
    • Mostly pollinated by yucca moth

Soaptree Yucca (Yucca elata)

agavaceae agave family3
AGAVACEAE: Agave Family
  • Yucca:
    • Mostly pollinated by yucca moth

http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ww0902a.htm

fabaceae legume family
FABACEAE: Legume Family
  • Add nitrogen to soil (mutualistic relationship with nitrogen fixing bacteria)
  • Act as nurse plants (providing shelter from freezing temperatures, intense sunlight, trampling, etc. to other plants.
fabaceae legume family1
FABACEAE: Legume Family
  • Includes most of our trees in the Sonoran Desert: Acacias, Mesquites, Paloverdes, and Ironwood.
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