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SUCCULENT Portfolio

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SUCCULENTS make interesting photographic subjects with their unusual, sometimes bizarre, appearance.   The name, Succulent, comes from "sucus,"  the Latin word for juice, sap or moisture.   These plants are characterized as having fleshy, thickened leaves, stems or other parts that usually retain water for survival.    Some succulents have the ability to thrive where there is very limited water, such as locations with only mist and dew. 


There are about 60 different plant families containing succulents, including Cactaceae (e.g. cactus), Asphodelaceae (e.g. aloes), Agavoideae (e.g. agaves), Aizoaceae (e.g.  stone & ice plants) and Crassulaceae (e.g. jade plants). 


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Interesting Notes:
Most ancient succulents lived in dry, arid locations where plant fossils were unlikely to be formed.   The only fossil records of succulents were a few bits of Cactaceae found in fossilized ground sloth dung.   Succulents are thought to have evolved between 30-million years  -to- 100-million years ago.

Succulents also thrive in dry lakes and coastal areas where high concentrations of dissolved minerals are deadly to most other plant species.

Some succulents, like Tillandsia, are air plants and have the ability to store water without any contact to the ground.

Although Botanist include cactus as succulents, Horticulturalists often exclude cactus from their definition of succulent plants.