Cactus Habitat: Florida Keys
Although it's certainly not a desert, Florida provides some excellent habitat for cactus. Sandy coastal areas host several species of Opuntia (prickly pear) while hardwood forests provide conditions perfect for forest-dwelling cacti. The atmosphere may be humid, but most cacti cannot absorb moisture through their skin. Forest-dwelling cacti typically grow epiphytically, hanging from trees and other plants for support. Without terrestrial roots, they must obtain water and nutrients from the small amount of rainfall and decaying vegetation that collects in the crevices in which they grow—areas that are prone to continual cycles of moisture and dryness. Their succulent stems help them survive the dry periods.
Florida cactus populations are threatened by storm surges and high winds during hurricanes, rising sea levels, poaching of rare species, and the destructive nonnative cactus moth Cactoblastis cactorum.