If you have had the pleasure of meeting a succulent, then you know it’s not just another ordinary flower or leaf. They are unique in their ability to store water without becoming waterlogged. Their leaves can actually wither up but remain intact until they dry out completely.
Although these plants may be small at first glance, when given enough time for growth, they can grow into huge specimens. The most common type of succulent is Cacti. Other types include herbs such as Aloes, Oleanders, Agaves, Yuccas, Gasterias, Magueyes and many others.
These plants all share one thing in common – their stems do not contain any juice because the sap has been reabsorbed by the roots. This means that if cut off, the stem will immediately die and turn brown. It also takes an extremely long period before they start producing new shoots again. The reason why this happens is due to how succulents absorb moisture from the sun through their thick skin which protects them from extreme heat and cold temperatures.
If you are looking for some plants that look like Aloe Vera? Read on!
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1. Agave Plant
This particular plant belongs to the cactus family, although its appearance does resemble more to something else. Its fleshy leaves are very thin with sharp edges, and its flowers are usually white or yellow in color. Most people don’t even notice it growing underneath the soil where it stores away water through its large pads. Once grown, it needs some help from humans to keep it alive. Not only that, but it requires lots of care too since it cannot stand being exposed to strong sunlight. If left outdoors, it would surely die quickly under intense heat. One good way to take care of it is to put it inside your house during summertime. During wintertime, you should place it outside near a window sill so it could get sufficient light.
Agave is classified as drought-resistant. But while indoors, make sure there is proper ventilation so it won’t overheat. Don’t forget to check on it every now and then to see whether it still looks healthy or not. In case you want to let it go outside, remember to bring along some food supplements. You can give it regular feedings once per week. Make sure to remove old pads, especially those that appear withered. After cutting down dead portions, you can use fresh ones to replace them.
Yuccas are known as “water monsters” among other things. When it comes to size, yuccas are definitely big. Some species can easily reach heights of 10 feet tall, making room for multiple trunks. However, unlike agaves, yucca doesn’t need much attention aside from watering it regularly. Since it gets plenty of nutrients from the air and rainwater, it rarely blooms. Instead, its main focus lies in sustaining itself using stored water within its trunk.
Most yuccas produce fruit called cashew nuts. Each nut contains about 40 seeds. With so many seeds contained in one single plant, it becomes easy to tell how massive it really is. To harvest the fruits, simply slice open the top portion of the tree and pull out the nuts. There might be some dirt attached around the surface of the nut, however, it shouldn’t affect eating it. Besides harvesting, it is possible to trim parts of its branches to serve as decorative pieces in gardens. Just be careful not to touch the soft part located beneath the bark. This area contains the actual nuts.
In terms of nutrition, yuccas are rich in vitamin B complex, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, sodium, chloride, and vitamins A, D, E and K.
Haworthias belong to the genus of mosses found mostly in South Africa. They originate from Madagascar and Australia. Another name commonly associated with Haworthias refers to its resemblance to a brain. Because of its peculiar shape, it earned the nickname of Brain Coral. Unlike coral, however, this plant never dies. Also, the word “coral” is derived from the Latin word corallum meaning marine polyps. On the contrary, this kind of plant grows underground without requiring oxygen and light. As mentioned earlier, it absorbs water via its pads. While it appears greenish, it turns red after being watered properly.
It is popularly used as ornamentals due to its beautiful foliage. The colors of its leaves vary depending on the variety available. It ranges from blue, purple, pink, orange, etc., giving off a nice combination of hues.
Its nutritional value includes Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, F, H, PP, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.
Gasteria is a widely recognized group of flowering plants belonging to the mint family. Aside from having tiny stems, it shares similarities to agaves, yuccas, and palms. For instance, the tips of its leaves act similar to fingers. Hence, it got its alternative name of Finger Palm Tree.
Unlike other members of the same family, Gasteria aren’t considered edible. And despite having tiny hairs covering its leaves, it’s best not to eat them either. Even though it’s hard to believe, the presence of thorns on the stem prevents it from absorbing excessive amounts of water. Due to this property, it is often referred to as thornless palm trees.
As opposed to its cousin, Palmae, Gasteria produces flowers instead of fruits. Apart from providing beauty to landscapes, its blossoming shades add life to surrounding areas.
Magueys are native to Mexico. They originated from tropical regions and thrive well in warm climates. These plants are commonly seen thriving in Mexican farms and backyards alike. People who live in warmer places tend to cultivate maguey in order to provide themselves with natural fibers suitable for clothing production.
Despite being indigenous to a certain region, it goes well with several cultures across the world. Maguey provides us with delicious foods such as corn tortillas, tamales, tacos, and chips. Additionally, its fibrous husks are commonly processed to extract lactic acid, ethanol, vinegar, and various sugars. Maguey has become one of the most important ingredients in creating alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, and liquors. According to studies conducted, maguey contains approximately 20% cellulose fiber, 65% hemicellulose, and 5% pectin.
Apart from serving as food sources, Magueya can also be made use of in manufacturing biodegradable paper products such as toilet papers, tissues, notebooks, books and magazines.
6. Dryland Bromeliads ( Dyckia and Hechtia )
These two families of bromeliad belong to the monocot class of vascular plants. They are characterized by their specialized root system which allows them to soak up excess amounts of water directly from dew drops. Thus, they’re able to store away large quantities of liquid.
During hot days, bromeliads close their tops and protect themselves from high-temperature levels. At nightfall, they reopen their leaves to allow the sun to penetrate through. This helps them release trapped water vapor.
Due to their compact structure, they require fewer resources than other kinds of vegetation. Plus, they don’t require constant maintenance. Simply ensure adequate irrigation so they’ll flourish.
Bromeliads are also capable of surviving harsh weather. Therefore, they’re perfect choices for landscaping purposes. Furthermore, the fact that they attract birds gives them additional aesthetic appeal.
Although they come in numerous varieties, it is essential to choose the right one based on your specific requirements.
Pineapples are cultivated mainly in Hawaii. They were brought in by Spanish missionaries to supplement meals. Today, pineapples account for almost 95 percent of total pineapple consumption worldwide.
Aside from sweetening our diets, these colorful fruits are also a great source of antioxidants. Moreover, they are full of dietary fiber, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Among the three classes of phytonutrients present in pineapple, beta-carotene stands out as the primary antioxidant responsible for boosting immunity against diseases.
One interesting thing about pineapple is that it is harvested year-round. Depending upon availability, growers switch between planting and harvesting activities accordingly. By doing so, they minimize wastage of precious energy.
So next time you visit a supermarket, try buying a few exotic-looking fruits including bananas, mangoes, papayas, avocados, mangosteen, passionfruit, lychees, rambutan, dragonfruits, and pineapples. Enjoying their taste and health benefits is guaranteed.