Is Cactus Fruit Or Vegetable?

Cactus can be fruit and can be vegetable too. It Depends on the various cacti out there and their distinctive properties. In this article, we will talk more about this.

Cacti are succulents that are found in various dry areas— like deserts. They stem succulents that are characterized by fleshy stems adorned with spines. These fleshy and engorged stems have a unique ability to hold water for longer durations. Thus cacti could survive in deserted locations where no one could even access to. Most of the cacti look beautiful and blossom. They also grow in unique, distinctive shapes and textures.

Today, cacti is one of the most popular among plant lovers because of their distinctive properties. Cacti have been successful in adding to the visual appeal. Due to their unique shape and designs, people use them for indoor decorations as well. An added advantage is that cacti are low-maintenance plants. As they have the natural ability to store water in their engorged stems, they don’t demand regular watering. Thus skipping watering for a day wouldn’t hamper them.

Countries like South America continue using cacti in various dishes like soups, salads, vegetable dishes, and desserts.

Now, a common question that many nature enthusiasts ask— is cactus Fruit or Vegetable?

Some other questions may include – what are the nutritional facts of cacti? Does Cacti have Medicinal Values? etc. Let us check answers about the same in the upcoming lines.

Is Cactus Edible?

Cacti are Stem succulents that are characterized by their unique shape and stem that are designed to store water—the task that is generally handled by leaves. Unlike other succulents, cacti have areolas. Like any other plant, some cacti are suitable for consumption.

Today, cacti have turned into a multi-useful species. They are being used as decorative plants for indoor applications. In addition, they have also turned into great consumables.

Yes, some cacti are consumable. Cacti are known for their bulging and juicy stems. Stems, nodes, and few other parts of some cacti are proven suitable for consumption.

Don’t misunderstand that all cacti are edible, and you directly consume available cacti:

  1. The prickly spines can hurt you.
  2. You need to be aware of which part of that cactus is actually edible.
  3. You should know how to extract the edible part to consume it.

Thus you must understand that cactus is not a superfood. However, some parts can be edible.

Cactus Fruit Or Vegetable?

It would help if you were aware by now that some cacti are edible. What if someone asks if cacti are fruits or vegetables?

It is not easy to answer this question. By definition, fruits are nothing but fleshy seeds. On the other hand, vegetables can be any part of the plant or even the whole plant that can be consumed. Thus cacti can be considered fruits; they can also be regarded as vegetables in some cases.  

Let us take a deeper look at this. Not all cacti are consumable. Moreover, only fruits can be consumed in some cacti. In this case, cacti would be considered as a fruit only. Some other cacti can be entirely consumed. While in some other cacti, a few parts like stem can be consumed. In these cases, cacti are treated as vegetables.

Thus if one asks whether cacti is a fruit or a vegetable, the answer would be—cacti is both fruit and vegetable. An example of cacti fruit would be a pear of prickly pear cactus. An example of a cacti vegetable would be the Nopales cactus. 

Nutritional Facts About Cactus

As said in the previous lines, the cactus is too early to be considered a superfood. However, it has certain nutritional benefits that would make it suitable for consumption. 

Let us into the nutritional benefits of cacti:

  • They are high in fiber, antioxidants, and carotenoids.
  • They are generally very low-calorie foods.
  • Juice extracted from them can act as an immunity booster. They also have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • They can be a good source of vitamins, riboflavin, carotene, and other immunity boosters.
  • Additional benefits can come from small traces of other minerals that they have. These may include calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium.

All these nutritional benefits make cactus a suitable consumable. If you are looking for a high fiber diet or weight loss, then cactus can be your pick. 

Cactus as a Medicinal Food

Various nutritional facts in cacti are checked in the previous lines. These facts make cacti a plant with good medicinal values. The use of cacti as a medicine is an age-old practice. 

  • Peyote is used as a psychoactive agent traditionally in countries like the United States.
  • Peyote cactus also have applications in various pharmaceutical companies as they are known for stimulating central nervous systems, blood pressure, sleep, hunger, and thirst.
  • Prickly pear fruit is an age-old medicine for burned wounds and fluid retention. These are also consumed along with stem to rejuvenate vitamin C in the body. 
  • Arizona cactus pear is recently proven to treat against the growth of immortalized cells like cancer.
  • Cactus pear seeds are eaten for various nutritional benefits. Pear oil is also extracted from them and is known to reduce serum cholesterol levels and for treating lipid-related complications.

Other Interesting Facts About Cacti

Cacti are under research for their additional nutritional benefits. Today, cacti are used in making jams, syrups, soaps, alcohol, and cheese production. In some countries, farmers use cactus mucilage to clean water. Cactus mucilage is a natural thickener and thus can be used in various food dishes. Cacti are not a superfood today, but there is a lot of scope of their uses in multiple areas.

Final Wrap Up

Cacti are those succulents that have multi-utility to mankind. Some of them are dangerous; however, many are helpful to us in one or the other ways. Mini Cacti can be a good option for adorning homes. Cacti can be both fruit and vegetable—depending upon their nutritional values. Cacti have some incredible medicinal values in them. Some species of cacti are traditionally used for treatment in many areas of the world.

We hope the answer to the question— is cactus fruit or vegetable? — and other related questions are answered.


Nikita is a Succulent lover. She really enjoys planting and nourishing them. She loves to share information about various Succulents on this blog to aware people more about these awesome plants.

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