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Spiny


Your recent cover article “The Great Agave Experiment” misclassified blue agave as a cactus. In fact, all agaves belong to the asparagus family (Asparagaceae) and are more related to the species of grass on your lawn (and the delicious, green vegetable) than they are to any cactus.

While certainly not of any major importance, it is interesting to note that not all succulent, spiny plants are cacti. All cacti belong to the family Cactaceae, a family of flowering plants native to the Americas (and not all are succulent, nor do they all have spines). Many succulent plant species, such as some euphorbias (Family Euphorbiaceae) bear a striking resemblance to cacti and are often incorrectly called “cacti” in gardens and nurseries. So, while I am sure that botanists in Santa Barbara will forgive you, please do remember that not all spiny, succulent plants are cacti.

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