Cacti and succulents at the New Orleans Botanical Garden in City Park

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The New Orleans Botanical Garden is a place of wonder. At every turn there is something new to look upon no matter the season.

Near the middle of the Botanical Garden is a small greenhouse containing the Garden’s collection of cacti and succulents. You can feel free to walk from one end to the other marveling at the many types in this vast collection.

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The cactus family has nearly 2000 species and with only one exception, they are native to America. They range from the Arctic Circle to the mountains of Chile, but are most abundant in the southwestern United States and Mexico.

ImageThe term succulent refers to a broad category of plants, including cacti which have developed think fleshy leaves or stems. These serve as water storage organs to insure survival under arid conditions. Succulents are found worldwide. Besides cacti, they include many familiar plants: Crassula aborescens (Jade plant) and Aloe barbadensis (Medicine plant).

Cacti can be tall and lanky or squat and spherical, frequently without any branches, and most always without leaves. These shapes result in a large proportion of internal tissue to external surface area which reduces the amount of moisture that is lost through the plant itself. They often have scales or spines ranging from microscopically small to wickedly large and barbed. These protect against predators and are thought to aid the plant in withstanding hot drying rays of the sun.

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The New Orleans Botanical Garden is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 4:30pm. The last entry is at 4pm.

For more information on the New Orleans Botanical Garden please visit: http://www.neworleanscitypark.com/botanical-garden

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