Cactus conjures up images of a thorny leafless plant standing tall in a hot barren desert. But, now a new study by an American biologist from the University of Austin at Texas has shown that cactus do actually possess ultra tiny leaves.”For curious cacti owners desiring a glimpse of the leaves, caution is advised. If people do look closely at their cacti trying to see leaves, they need to be careful of spines close to their eyes,” said James Mauseth, professor of biological sciences at the university, and lead author of the paper.Prof. Mauseth said the leaves, which are best viewed under a microscope, exist at the base of spine clusters.Leaf sizes ranged from 30 to 2310 micrometers. A single micrometer is equal to one millionth of a meter or just .00003937 inch, so the documented cactus leaves may very well be the world’s smallest, he added.
He further said cacti began as regular, leafy plants in the Americas, with many species later evolving spines.
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