Is cactus fruit or vegetable? This is an important question that many ask because if it’s a fruit, it can’t grow on bushes. However, if cactus is considered a vegetable, then the definition of what constitutes “fruit” and “vegetable” changes.
To help you decide what cactus actually is, we first need to understand some basics about fruits and vegetables. A botanist named Carl Linnaeus created the classification system that everyone uses today.
What is Cactus?
(also known as prickly pear, hedgehog cactus)
Cacti are a group of succulent plants that have a thick fleshy stem called a “crown”. They produce an edible fruit called a “capsule”. The term “cactus” is also used to refer to the pads of some other types of succulents, such as members of the genus Agave. These stems are generally referred to as “spines” or “prickly pears”.
The English word “cactus” comes from Nahuatl, with the spelling “Kaktus”, and is the source of the scientific name “Cactaceae”. The term “cactus” is also used for other members of that family, including agaves, and members of related genera.
Is Cactus a Fruit or vegetable?
Cactus is both a fruit and a vegetable. Cactus is both a fruit and a vegetable because cactus is an edible plant; that grows from the ground; and has seeds.
The definition of fruit is clear: a fleshy seed-bearing structure that grows on plants. The definition of a vegetable is also clear: any part of the plant that is not the fruit or seed and includes shoots, leaves, stems, branches, flowers, and roots.
So if we view the cactus as a punnet square below it would mean that it’s both a vegetable and a fruit.
The cactus fruit is the only part of this plant that can be eaten. The root, stem, and leaves are all toxic. Cactus fruit looks like a dark red and blueberry, or grape with a hard skin, which is very sweet and delicious. The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked with other fruits.
Cactus fruits should be stored in airtight containers in a cool dry place for up to 3 months before consuming them as they will lose their characteristic taste when stored for months under normal conditions. The dried fruits can be stored for years before opening them again to preserve their flavor and texture.
Cactus is also a vegetable because it is part of the plant that has grown from seed and sprouted. The fruit is one type of vegetable because it is a part of the plant that comes out of the ground. A vegetable is also defined as, “Any edible part of a plant or fungus that we consume other than fruits and seeds.”
Where does Cactus Grow?
The cactus is a tropical perennial succulent plant that is native to the hot and dry regions of North, Central, and South America. They are typically found as low-growing plants in sandy, rocky, and gravelly soil. Cacti usually need a lot of light to survive because they have no source of water for their roots. Cacti are found in many different climates, habitats, and locations where they can grow well. They can be found all over the world.
How to grow Cactus?
Cacti are very easy to grow. They can be grown in containers, as well as in garden beds. Cactus plants only need a little bit of sunlight, so they can be placed anywhere in the house, under a bright window. They do not need much water and should be watered once a month or less.
Cactus fruits are rich in vitamin C, and they are very delicious. They can be eaten raw or cooked with other fruits. However, cactus fruits must be eaten in moderation because they contain small amounts of a very bitter alkaloid called “cytisine”. It is the alkaloid cytisine that gives cactus fruit its bitter flavor. Cactus flesh that is red contains more cytisine than those that are yellow or pink.
Interesting facts about Cactus
The family Cactaceae is the second largest family of plants in the world, behind only Asteraceae.
Cactus is very difficult to grow as they require a lot of light for their survival. They need to be placed in a bright sunny room. They have no source of water for their roots and so they need lots of sunlight to survive that they can be grown as house plants.
Cactus has a very thick stem which is also known as the crown. Cactus have spines that cover their thick stem and the spines are sharp so they can protect themselves from enemies, and also protect them from getting waterlogged.
The cactus stem or the crown has different shapes and sizes like a small dome or a ball. Cactus stems are fleshy and easily identifiable because of the spines that cover them. The cactus stem is often divided into 4 parts, with each part having 2 sides.
Amelia is a plant and nature lover! Ever since she was little, she loved spending time in her family’s garden and learning about how to care for each plant individually. As an adult, she has dedicated herself to sharing what she has learned and continuing to expand her knowledge on the plant kingdom.