Do Cactus has Leaves?
A cactus (plural: cacti) plant has the resistance power to survive and grow under any extreme conditions because it has adopted itself to such conditions and environment.
Cacti have more or less the same basic structures as that of other plants. But one unique feature of this plant is that the work that is done by leaves in most other plants, the same work is done by stems and branches in case of cacti. As a matter of fact, the absence of leaves and the presence of spine covered branches and stems give them enough strength to survive in hot and dry regions as well.
In other plants, the leaves are thin and are filled with pores by means of which the plant is able to breathe. During the process of cell-making, water is given off in the atmosphere only with the help of these pores.
Such types of plants guard every drop of water. Hence, the work of the leaves is assigned to stems and branches. Such plants have very thick skin having few pores and hence the water is easily retained in the cactus.
During the rainy season cacti can quickly absorb water from the earth because the roots of cacti are spread out close to the surface of the ground. The water thus taken in through the roots is stored in the spongy or hollow stems of such plant is a little bit thickly and waxy as compared to other plants and thus helps in preventing the water to escape.
As regards to outer skin of a cactus it is ribbed. Many plants of cacti have ribs that fold and expand just like an accordion. They go on expanding so long as they are filled up with water and fold together as the water is used up in the stem.
Some plants of cactus family do have leaves e.g. the lemon vine of the Westlndies. Generally, in most of the cacti plants the leaves have developed into spines, needles or hairs. These are helpful in protecting the cacti from animals that would have otherwise eaten them merely because of the easy approach to such green plants within the area.