Inspiring paper cuts, embroidery, jewellery and more, crafty cacti are showcased on page 112 of August's The Simple Things. But what about the real thing?
- The tallest cactus is Pachycereus pringlei, which can reach heights just shy of 20 metres; the smallest, Blossfeldia liliputana, is an easy-to- overlook 2cm diameter.
- Think you’re thirsty? A fully grown saguaro can take up to 2,500 litres of water in 10 days.
- Legend says that the Aztecs were told to settle where they spotted an eagle, carrying a snake, perched on a cactus. This spot became Tenochtitlán, now part of modern day Mexico City – and is visible on the coat of arms of the Mexican flag.
- In the wild, cactus plant can live from between 25 to 300 years. Less in the home, especially if you overwater – which is the biggest killer of domestic cacti.
- ‘Cacti’ is the Latin plural; ‘cactuses’ is the English plural. Pedants please note: dictionaries list both.
- They’re only native to North and South America, with one brave exception found in tropical Africa, Madagascar and Sri Lanka.
- All cacti flower: it’s just some only do it at night and, for some, the bloom only lasts a few days.
- Cacti feature in the cave paintings in Brazil’s Serra da Capivara. Seeds have also been found in ancient middens (waste dumps), in Mexico and Peru, dating from around 10,000 years ago.