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Biology Of Cacti, Species Of Cacti In North America, Economic Importance Of Cacti

The cactus family or Cactaceae is made up of about 2,000 species of perennial plants with succulent stems, most of which are well-armed with sharp spines. The natural distribution of most cacti is American, ranging from southern British Columbia and southern Ontario in Canada, through much of the United States, to the tip of southern South America. One genus, Rhipsalis, occurs in Africa, Madagascar, and India, and is probably native there. Cacti usually inhabit deserts and other dry, open places. The major use of cacti by humans is as attractive, ornamental plants in gardens, or as indoor house plants. A few species produce edible fruits, and one yields peyote, a hallucinogenic drug.

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