500 Cacti: Species and Varieties in Cultivation
500 Cacti: Species and Varieties in Cultivation

* Book Type:

Not Available Online
Publisher: Firefly Books

Author Statement: Ken Preston-Mafham
Audience: Trade
Specs: 500 color photographs, glossary, further references, index
Pages: 528
Trim Size: 6 1/4" x 6 1/2" x 1 5/8"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 20070412
Copyright Year: 2007
Price: Select Below


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500 Cacti: Species and Varieties in Cultivation

500 species from all cactus groups, including cacti, succulents, caudiciforms and euphorbs, alphabetically by genus. Each species has its own page and includes at-a-glance detail on size, distribution, spination, flowering, varieties, growing advice.

A visual reference to 500 cacti.

The cactus family includes more than 2,500 species of cacti, succulents, caudiciforms and euphorbs. Native to the Americas, they are at least 50 million years old and highly advanced in their evolution. Not all are desert plants. Some are found in the rainforest, where they enjoy the heavy rainfall and grow much more vigorously than their desert cousins. Many cacti are very popular with rock gardeners and houseplant enthusiasts.

This new book features 500 species representing all cactus groups. The cacti are arranged alphabetically by scientific genus, with an entire page devoted to each species. At-a-glance information includes size, distribution, spination, flower and flowering time, plus varieties and synonyms used. Detailed descriptions reveal the amazing adaptations cacti have made, such as:

  • Stems with waterproof skin to store water
  • Far-reaching, shallow root systems
  • Leaves that are shed during a drought
  • Spines toward off predators.

The author provides professional advice on growing these plants at home. Among the 500 color photographs that appear in the book are stunning shots of cacti in bloom.

500 Cacti is a useful reference for all who admire these long-living and distinctive plants.


Ken Preston-Mafham is a naturalist, author and photographer. He lives in England, where he has grown cacti for more than 30 years. His previous books include Cacti and Succulents in Habitat and Cacti: The Illustrated Dictionary.



500 cacti describes more than 500 species of cacti that we generally available for enthusiasts from specialist nurseries, Including some from more general garden stores. While is difficult to choose what to include or exclude from this large group of plants, it can be said that anyone obtaining all the plants in this book (or a reasonable selection) would end up with a well-balanced collection of diverse, interesting, and rewarding cacti.

The final list contains as many genera as reasonably possible even if they have only a single example. Popular genera, or those that seem to be gaining numerous new deem at present and that are not always covered well elsewhere (for example, the Opuntia group) have been dealt with rather more fully than some people might think they deserve. Genera that have few fans, such as some the long pendant epiphytes, or many large-growing, columnar kinds (cerei), or those whose members are difficult to grow on their own roots (such as Blossfeldia), have been omitted.

To assist the reader who is a complete beginner with cacti and is wrestling with a confusion of names on a mail order list, a selection of genera that are not included here, along with brief reasons why, is given on page 516.

The plants in this book are all members of a single family (the Cactaceae), most of which have succulent stems used for storing water. Numerous other kinds of plants are also succulent and are very popular with collectors, for example, living stones (Lithops) in the famlly Aizoaceae or Stapelia in the milkweed family (Asclepiadaceae). These and many other succulent plants do not belong to the family Cactaceae, and so are not included in the following pages.

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