What is the difference between a cactus and a succulent? Well, according to Wikipedia "The best-known succulents are cacti (family: Cactaceae). Virtually all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. There is a significant difference between succulents that evolved in Africa and those that evolved in the Americas, the New World plants called cacti all have spines. No succulent plants arising in the Old World have spines although, through parallel evolution, there are similar species in the Old World that closely resemble species in the new world that do have spines.... The spines of cacti arose from leaf structures." And, herre is a further definition of succulents: "Succulent plants, also known as succulents or fat plants, are water-retaining plants adapted to arid climates or soil conditions. Succulent plants store water in their leaves, stems, and also in roots."
At the South Bay Botanic Garden's cacti and succulent collection we showcase over 100 different plants of the "spiny and succulent" nature. Each plant is numbered and visitors can simpy pick up a free guide in the nearby mailbox to help them with identification and culture.
While cacti and succulents may not be the end all to water conserving landscapes, they are certainly a facinating group of plants valued for fantastic leaf shapes, colors, and interest. Add to that the surprise of some beautiful blooms, cacti and succulents can provide a great focal point in your garden. And, be careful, they can be addicting.