Strong reminder that cacti should NOT be wild collected
I’ll be grabbing some articles in a separate set of posts for better weight but till then I’m gonna start with this post here;
When people hear about plants that are poached by plant collectors to the point of being endangered/extinct we hear plants like orchid species, carnivorous plants like venus fly traps, sundews, and pitcher plants. One that gets thrown under the bus and forgotten in that word of warning though it always tends to be the succulents and especially the cacti.
Cacti are thought of as these plants that are utterly indestructible, taking on environments that many other plants cannot. This is true but it often comes at a price; most grow/reproduce super slowly in the wild and can take years just to reach sexual maturity, making them particularly vulnerable when mature plants are taken from their habitat and brought into horticulture. Also like other wild collected plants, there comes a huge risk of either bringing pests/diseases into domestic plant collections (via the poached plants) or making the collected plants all the rarer by killing them off from the pests/diseases that already exist in plant collections.
Except in extremely specific circumstances (a habitat being destroyed for urbanization/agriculture being one of those cases) cacti should not be taken from the wild, nor should they be purchased from sources which encourage the collecting of wild cacti. Leave wild cacti alone and enjoy/admire them from afar, and instead support responsible horticulturalists that sell cacti propagated from nursery stock (which do so from seed and/or cuttings). They may be smaller than their wild counterparts due to the difference in age, but they will reach that magnificent size with time, and will at least make sure that such old plants still exist in the wild in the first place.