All Floras      Advanced Search
FOC Vol. 13 Page 209 Login | eFloras Home | Help
FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 13

16. Cactaceae

仙人掌科 xian ren zhang ke

Authors: Zhen-yu Li & Nigel P. Taylor

Fleshy perennials, shrubs, trees or vines, terrestrial or epiphytic. Stems jointed, terete, globose, flattened, or fluted, mostly leafless and variously spiny. Leaves alternate, flat or subulate to terete, vestigial, or entirely absent; spines, glochids (easily detached, small, bristlelike spines), and flowers always arising from cushionlike, axillary areoles (modified short shoots). Flowers solitary, sessile, rarely clustered and stalked (in Pereskia), bisexual, rarely unisexual, actinomorphic or occasionally zygomorphic. Receptacle tube (hypanthium or perianth tube) absent or short to elongate, naked or invested with leaflike bracts, scales, areoles, and hairs, bristles, or spines; perianth segments usually numerous, in a sepaloid to petaloid series. Stamens numerous, variously inserted in throat and tube; anthers 2-loculed, dehiscing longitudinally. Ovary (pericarpel) inferior, rarely superior, 1-loculed, with 3 to many parietal (rarely basal) placentas; ovules usually numerous; style 1; stigmas 2 to numerous, papillate, rarely 2-fid. Fruit juicy or dry, naked, scaly, hairy, bristly, or spiny, indehiscent or dehiscent, when juicy then pulp derived from often deliquescent funicles (except in Pereskia). Seeds usually numerous, often arillate or strophiolate; embryo curved or rarely straight; endosperm present or absent; cotyledons reduced or vestigial, rarely leaflike.

About 110 genera and more than 1000 species: temperate and tropical America; Rhipsalis baccifera (J. S. Mueller) Stearn native in tropical Africa, Madagascar, Comoros, Mascarenes, and Sri Lanka; some species of other genera now extensively naturalized in the Old World through human agency; more than 60 genera and 600 species cultivated as ornamentals or hedges in China, of which four genera and seven species more or less naturalized.

Li Zhenyu. 1999. Cactaceae. In: Ku Tsuechih, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 52(1): 272-285.

Cacti are poorly collected and recorded, particularly anywhere they are naturalized.

1 Plants terrestrial; stems not producing aerial roots; leaves present; flowers diurnal, rotate, without elongated tube; ovary (pericarpel) superior to inferior   (2)
+ Plants epiphytic, climbing, or scrambling; stems often producing aerial roots; leaves absent; flowers nocturnal, funnelform or salverform, with elongated tube; ovary (pericarpel) inferior   (3)
2 (1) Areoles without glochids; leaves broad and flat, pinnately nerved, ± persistent; flowers solitary or in inflorescences, mostly stalked; ovary (pericarpel) superior to inferior; seeds black, not arillate.   1 Pereskia
+ Areoles with glochids; leaves usually small, terete to subulate, nerveless, caducous; flowers solitary, sessile; ovary (pericarpel) inferior; seeds encased in a white, bony aril.   2 Opuntia
3 (1) Branches usually 3-winged or angled, rigid, with short spines or rarely spineless.   3 Hylocereus
+ Branches usually flattened, leaflike, with a stout midrib, soft, spineless.   4 Epiphyllum

Lower Taxa


Related Objects  
  • Cactaceae.pdf
  • PDF

    Chinese Plant Names  
  • Echinopsis (Trees and shrubs of the Andes of Ecuador)
  • Image/JPEG
    Interactive Keys by Xiangying Wen  
  • Echinopsis (Trees and shrubs of the Andes of Ecuador)
  • Image/JPEG
  • Opuntia compressa (Xiangying Wen)
  • Image/JPEG
  • Opuntia compressa (Xiangying Wen)
  • Image/JPEG
  • Opuntia macrorhiza (Xiangying Wen)
  • Image/JPEG

    Flora of China @
    Browse by
    Advanced Search

    Flora of China Home




     |  eFlora Home |  People Search  |  Help  |  ActKey  |  Hu Cards  |  Glossary  |