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Succulent succulent plants
When we talk about succulent succulents we refer to plant species with so-called aquifer parenchyma, which are nothing but succulent fabrics that allow us to accumulate considerable amounts of water. These plants, in fact, are able to administer water sparingly during the rainy seasons, so that it is made available in periods of drought, being made available to the districts of the body that need it. By virtue of the succulent tissue, roots, stems and leaves are enlarged and fleshy: depending on the species, they take different forms, flattened, columnar, spherical, rosette-shaped depending on the case.
It is good to specify that not all succulents are cacti: these, in fact, only constitute a family of a decidedly wider species. In short: cacti are succulent plants, but succulents are not necessarily cacti. These plants over the millennia have adapted to live and grow in dry situations, precisely through the absorption of water. The aquifer parenchyma, in particular, appears as a spongy tissue, consisting of round-shaped cells of considerable size, interspersed with rather large intercellular spaces. The tissue is present in different plant organs, and conserves water through different devices: for example, the production of hydrophobic waxes with a protective function and the epidermal enlargement caused by cutins.
How they are made
Also note the presence of trichomes, that is to say hair that allows the various species to contain the losses due to transpiration. In most cases (for example in echinocactus) the leaves are changed into spines, while the stem performs chlorophyll photosynthesis. In addition to succulence, therefore, these varieties are also characterized by the limited number of stomata, the absence of leaves (which, in the rare cases in which they exist, are in any case limited and predominantly spherical), a metabolism Cam to reduce the water leakage to a minimum, and compact growth, which can be compact, spherical or columnar. It is worth noting the presence of hair, cutins and waxes, which create on the external surface a micro-habitat characterized by a high humidity and favor a reduction of air circulation. Succulent succulent plants, therefore, by virtue of these peculiarities have settled in habitats with sub-arid and arid climates, that is to say sites where rainfall occurs only in one period of the year, anticipated and followed by total drought.
Their ability to withstand drought for a long time, therefore, is evident in the desert and arid areas in which they grow in companies of other xerophilous species.
Diffusion and distribution: deserts and forests
The succulents, specifically, grow mainly in pre-desert areas, where there are periods of very intense rainfall and periods of prolonged drought. In reality, they are also found in Africa, Asia, South America and Central America, in the humid forests; indeed, in these environments they are particularly competitive in the colonization of epiphytic sites, as well as microfelci and tillandsie. Although they are widespread in Italian homes, succulent plants do not like to be grown in apartments (which does not mean that domestic cultivation is not able to give good results, especially if the species are placed in very bright positions), precisely because in the apartment they cannot receive all the light they would need. Not only: at home, even temperature and ventilation are not optimal, especially in winter. As for the ground, these plants, as mentioned, live in very different environmental contexts, among rocks, stones, trees, deserts and so on.
The soil, in any case, should be porous at most, and favor the drainage of water, so that episodes of root rot due to the appearance of water stagnations do not occur. Therefore, it would be necessary to prepare a mixture of earth, strictly non-fertilized, combined with shredded bricks and coarse sand. It is a kind of soil that prevents the roots from remaining soaked in water for too long: an inconvenience that can also be avoided by using earthenware jars and containers, and by using a light mulch characterized by pozzolana, gravel, lava in granules or pumice. This feature will help prevent rot in the collar area.