We all know how many cacti we can find in hot and arid deserts. But what about Egypt? Egypt is a hot country too, and surely, there are many barren regions in Egypt, so cacti should grow there too right?
Egypt has some succulents such as the Caralluma Europaea. The only cactus species to exist in Africa is the Caralluma Europaea, which is also found in the Americas like other cacti. However, there are no native cacti, even in the barren regions of Egypt.
Africa is the oldest of all continents. It is the land from where life began, also from where humans descended. To truly understand why there are no cacti in Egypt, we’ll have to look into the history of succulents and cacti.
Let’s begin our journey to Egypt.
So are there any cacti in Egypt at all?
Egypt has native to none of the approximately 1700 species of cacti.
The most common cacti species are the Prickly Pear, the Saguaro, and the Hylocereus cacti. Although all of these can be found in various regions across the globe, none of them can be found growing in the wild outdoors of Egypt.
So do cacti belong to a certain place- a region or a country?
Most cacti species are native to the Americas. However, they could be grown in various locations around the world.
Hence, cacti are native to America only. If you find them in Europe, Africa, Asia, or somewhere else, they’re either imported or were brought and cultivated by men ages ago!
Cacti are low-maintenance plants
You don't need to live in a desert for cacti to grow. Most cacti species can be grown in tiny pots at home. All you need is to take care of their drainage and provide them sufficient sunlight.
From the Saguaro cactus to the Prickly Pear - Does Africa have any common cacti species?
The only cactus species found in Africa is the Rhipsalis Baccifera, more commonly known as the mistletoe cactus. However, it is still debatable whether it is native or not.
Like other cacti species, the Rhipsalis Baccifera is also found in the Americas. Almost all cacti, ranging from the Prickly Pear to the Saguaro are native to America, of which the Saguaro species is exclusive to the United States.
However, the Rhipsalis Baccifera is the only species that exists within America but outside it. In fact, it is the only one in Africa, but it is found in the tropical regions rather than the desert or barren land. One theory is that migratory birds brought it to this part of the world ages ago.
But are cacti really that old to have reached us from millions and billions of years ago?
When did cacti come into being? Were there any in Egypt a long time ago?
The oldest cacti fossils date back to 50 million years. Hence, cacti are one of the oldest plant species in the world, although relatively very few fossils and evidence have been found of its existence.
All in all, only two cactus fossils have been found to date. We know that these cacti existed around 50 million years ago, so yes, cacti plants are indeed very old. However, neither of these fossils were found in Egypt. So it only makes sense to conclude that cacti are not native to Egypt.
We must also understand that the world looked very different millions of years ago.
You may come across some succulent plants in Egypt!
There are primarily two succulents native to Egypt, the Caralluma Europaea and the Euphorbia Venenifica.
While Egypt may not be native to any cacti, it hosts two succulents.
The Carallama Europaea has mat on its green surface. You can recognize it by its purplish-red or green flowers.
The Euphorbia Venenifica is a very tall succulent plant. It can grow as tall as 5 metres, and it has veined leaves on the top, which increase during the growing season.
So if Egypt is not home to any cacti, does it host any succulents at all?
The Caralluma Europaea is a perennial succulent that produces flowers. It is native to Egypt and although it resembles a cactus, it is not actually one.
The Caralluma Europaea is a succulent and not a cactus. Some of its features make it look like a cactus. For instance, the stems long tall and move in the upward direction like that of a cactus. This succulent also has a flower which looks like that of the grafted moon cactus.
If a Saguaro cactus can grow in the desert, can't it grow in the barren lands of Egypt too?
The Saguaro cactus is native only to the Arizona Desert, United States of America. It grows in the barren land, however, it cannot be found in the desert and barren regions of Egypt.
Although the Saguaro cactus has the ability to thrive and survive in the desert, it is native to America. More particularly, it is found in the United States and not in the desert or barren regions of Egypt or even all of Africa.
So you can’t see cacti in Egypt. If you do, then they were probably imported by men and kept in pots. There are no cacti native to Egypt, except for the Rhipsalis Baccifera, which is found in the sub-tropical regions of Africa. And this cactus species is also found in other regions, including the Americas. So it’s debatable whether they are exclusively native to Egypt or not.
Do you wish to learn more about how cacti thrive and survive? Don’t miss reading this post on how a cactus can survive in the desert !
My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!
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