Fat plants

Succulent plants types

General characteristics of succulent plants

Succulent or succulent plants are vegetables that manage to survive in environments characterized by extreme climatic conditions such as subtropical deserts, arid rocky areas of many plateaus and tropical forests thanks to the presence of tissue-rich plant organs capable of retaining water .The species belonging to this family of plants are very different from each other both in shape and size and are therefore particularly suitable to satisfy ornamental needs of any kind. They do not need special care and are satisfied with little water and low light, the succulents are also very popular on the market and are often sold in a wild and uncontrolled manner, so that international laws have intervened to regulate the sale of some specimens collected in the wild and at risk of extinction. Equipped with a great capacity for adaptation, some species have succeeded to colonize areas with a mild climate, typical of the Macc Mediterranean hia as the prickly pear that although native to Mexico is currently quite widespread in the regions of southern Italy and especially in Sicily. In nature there are about 10,000 different species of succulent or succulent plants, all characterized by the presence of more spongy internal tissues or less thick able to accumulate the water necessary for survival. Depending on whether these water reservoirs are found in the stem, in the leaves or in the roots, it is possible to subdivide the succulents into caulinars, foliar and radicals. It is specific to minimize the evaporation of the liquids accumulated inside them and in many species the presence of thorns instead of the leaves as well as having a protective purpose allows to further limit the dispersion of water avoiding dehydration. to survive in arid environments, in areas with low rainfall and long periods of drought.


More than 2,000 species of succulents of all shapes and sizes belong to the cactus family. They are probably the most common succulent plants in gardens and botanical gardens thanks to their adaptability to the surrounding environmental conditions that make them real masters of survival. Native to the rocky areas of North and South America, they generally have a green stem in which almost all the liquids necessary for their survival are concentrated. Most of the cacti are covered with thorns which, depending on the species, diversify for shapes and sizes.Some specimens of very small Echinocactus are covered with very small spines of a few millimeters to a few centimeters long, while some succulent cactiformes belonging to the Euphorbiaceae family may have thorns even 20 centimeters long. In the specimens of the genus Opuntia the spines develop into tufts composed of marginal glochids and longer and harder central spines. Some cacti such as the Testa di Vecchio originating from the Mexican highlands are covered with a white down that has the function of protecting the plant from the sun's rays. The Testa di Vecchio or Cephalocereus senilis has a column growth and can overcome, in its places of origin, the ten meters high. The flowers sprout when the plant has reached certain dimensions which does not occur in many non-native species due to the lack of optimal environmental conditions proper to the original places. However, inflorescence is also very diversified .The size of the flowers in cacti can in fact vary from a few millimeters to 40 centimeters in diameter. The flowers can have different colors, usually very bright, such as yellow, red, orange, green and purple.

The prickly pear

It is a cactacea of ​​the genus Opuntia native to Mexico now present in several coastal areas of the Mediterranean including the coastal regions of southern Italy. It is formed by a robust cylindrical trunk from which numerous flattened branches covered with thorns develop on which they develop large yellow flowers that give rise to rounded orange or red fruits covered by a thorny peel. The fruits are completely edible with sweet peel and of excellent taste. The prickly pear has a remarkable ornamental value and can be easily cultivated also in pots. It lives in sunny environments at a temperature not lower than four degrees centigrade and needs very little water to be administered only in the hottest periods of the year.


It is a perennial succulent belonging to the Aloaceae family that includes about 350 different species of plants. It is an evergreen shrub, perennial and climbing, with fleshy and thorny leaves, mostly in a tuft at the center of which develops a colorful flower long of tubular form.The most known ornamental varieties are: the Aloe aristata, Aloe brevifolia and the Aloe striata.Aloe vera is instead used in the medical field for the therapeutic properties of the aqueous liquid contained in its leaves.The same leaves dried and powdered they are also used for making beauty products.

Succulent plants types: The Agave

It is a succulent leafy native to Central America often used as an ornamental plant in gardens and interiors. It is also called "tree of wonders" thanks to the fibers extracted from the leaves from which fabrics, ropes and alcoholic beverages such as mescal are made. the pulque and the tequila.