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Name: Amy
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Question:
Why is a saguaro cactus not a tree?


Replies:
Trees and shrubs are "woody."

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

http://www.succulent-plant.com/glossary/plantglossarys.html

The following is an interesting fact sheet for kids:

http://www.desertmuseum.org/kids/oz/long-fact-sheets/Saguaro%20Cactus.php

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?

Nigel
Tennant Creek Australia



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