Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Saguaro Cactus
Name: Amy
Grade: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A

Why is a saguaro cactus not a tree?

Trees and shrubs are "woody."

A cactus is a type of "succulent" or juicy, fleshy plant:

The following is an interesting fact sheet for kids:

Anthony R. Brach, PhD
Missouri Botanical Garden c/o Harvard University Herbaria

In a word - Wood. Or lack there of. Since the saguaro produces no lignin - the woody material in wood - it is not a tree. Banana palms have the same distinction. To a botanist - a plant which produces no lignin is a herb. That means that a banana and a saguaro are herbs!!!??!! Would you like herbs with your ice cream sundae?

Tennant Creek Australia

Click here to return to the Botany Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory