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Is Aloe A Cactus? – (What is the Difference Between)

If you are curious whether “is aloe a cactus” or it is some other plant or whether there are 2 different types of plant belonging to different genus or family. We will discuss all the questions here on our aloe and cactus relations, similarity and whether aloe can be called as cactus.

Is aloe a cactus

is aloe a cactus – Aloe isn’t a cactus, but cactus and aloe plant both have ability to be called as as succulent plants means they share lots of similarity whether aloe cactus both have good tolerance to heat or they both have kind of common looks which creates confusion among many that aloe vera is cactus but it’s not.

Cactus and aloe vera both are different plants belonging to different families. Aloe vera and Cactus share common traits like low watering, low maintenance and much more that is why they may confuse people and some might call them by each other name.

Some people may think that aloe may be a variety or a type of cactus that is unknown to them because most cacti look the same. Some have shaped leaves while other have thorns.

Cactus and aloe vera as succulent are adapted to warmer temperature environments while cactus can tolerate much heavy heat compared to aloe vera. Both were discovered in deserts to heat climate areas where they become drought resistant and now they have capability to store water inside the leaves for dry days.

Cactus is a member of Cactaceae family which is different then aloe which belong to Asphodelaceae (liliaceae). Aloe being a genus have over 500+ succulent species with some do flower and the most known one is aloe vera which is also known by the name “true aloe”. 

Names of some species:

  • Aloe Aculeata
  • Aloe Broomii
  • Aloe Capitata
  • Aloe Ferox
  • Aloe Maculata
  • Aloe Nyeriensis
  • Aloe Perryi
  • Aloe Succotrina, etc

While cactus have over 1700 species, this is known by the name spiny plant?(not spiky). Cactus species are different, everyone comes with different size, and shape but common is the dark green color, the thick skin and fleshy thrones.

Cactus can store water in thick stems while aloe vera stores inside the green leaves. Can’t say about cactus but aloe vera is surely used in cosmetic industrial products and we don’t know exact numbers but about 70+ are used in medicinal use. 

When I say that both aloe and cactus are succulents, I mean both are plants living in desert regions where you see mostly heat with less or no water.

One of the things that plants need for them to be called as succulents is their ability to store water; it could be stem or leaves or elsewhere and doesn’t rely on ground for water requirements.

Some succulents do have spikes but you can see aloe don’t have bigger thorns that would hurt but in case of cactus we should wear gloves to touch them while repotting as they may hurt badly if your skin is touched by the thorns of cacti. I have experienced this so I can tell how much it pains so i would highly recommend not to pick them up without safety measures.

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About Aloe Vera :

Family  Asphodelaceae
Scientific Name  Aloe barbadensis miller
Native Arabian Peninsula
Other Names   Cape aloe,Aloe plant, Chinese aloe, Barbados Aloe
Plant Type  Perennial, Succulent
Hardiness zone  4a to 8b
Grown Pots, Containers, Gardens,
Height  24-40 inches(50-101cm)
Growth rate Slower
Soil   Well draining, Fertile
Light Requirement  Partial Sunlight, Full Sun(Can Tolerate)
Fertilizer  Liquid based
USDA hardiness Zone 8 – 11
Blooming Season Summer
Flower Color Orange, Red, Yellow
Leaf Color Green, Spiky Shape
Growth Rate  Slow growing
Benefits For Skin and Body
Uses Cosmetics, skin creams
Toxicity Mild toxic

What is the difference between aloe vera and cactus?

Aloe Vera Cactus
Tropical environment Hot and dry Place
Medicinal Plant Non Medicinal Plant 
Aloe vera have leaves Cactus doesn’t have leaves mostly have sharp thorns
Aloe vera found in tropical forest and Rock mountains, outskirts of Rain Forests. Cactus found mostly in desert climates.
Aloe vera doesn’t have a round shape.  Cactus looks like a rounded shape.
Aloe is less tolerable to heat/sunlight while cactus is have strong core. Cactus are more tolerable to warm climates or heat.
Aloe vera stores water on its leaves Cactus stores water on its stems


Is aloe vera part of the cactus?

No, aloe vera is not a part of cactus by viewing both look similar but cactus aloe both have different family. In case of aloe vera it is a member of the lily(Asphodeloideae) family while cactus is species inside the Cactaceae family. Both aloe vera and cactus are part of different families and aloe consists of leaves while cactus have thorns instead of leaves.

We humans get confused by the look of a plant which is very similar to one another. same case of aloe vera as it looks quite cactus but it doesn’t belong to its family which has an appearance with thorns on it. Both aloe vera and cactus are succulents. That is true but they are not a part of each other’s family or don’t have any connection that holds them together.

I even given above the difference between both these plants, even cactus have no medicinal property while aloe being a good indoor plant holds medical use to humans. Aloe is popular for its skin healing properties but cactus doesn’t have any of them. In case of cactus it has an advantage over growing in desert places and if we grow aloe there, it might burn its leaves.


What is cactus and aloe vera good for?

Cactus and aloe vera both have no. of benefits like in case of aloe plant leaf juice is useful in treating skin burns while if the aloe vera juice can hydrate the body and provide vitamin A,E,C, amino acid and many antioxidants that can protect our cells from damage. In case of cactus you can’t use any cacti as they might be harmful for the human health so particularly “nopal cactus” juice has anti-inflammatory properties and is able to lower or treat high cholesterol, hangovers, can be effective for diabetes patients and can reduce obesity.

There are some studies that did show signs of lower blood sugar levels and this plant is native to Mexico. Some of you guys may have heard of this flat leaves cactus plant.

Data source : Mayoclinic, webmd.


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What is cactus and aloe vera good for

Caution: Lotusmagus.com don’t recommend using any the juice by yourself, please make sure do take advice from expert first before attempting anything.

Is aloe vera a type of cactus?

No, Aloe vera is not a type of cactus, they both are member of different family. Some traits of Aloe, Cactus doesn’t match with each other but yes they both are succulent as aloe and cactus stores water on leaves or stems. Aloe vera grows in semi tropical to tropical climate while cactus grows in desert regions. Aloe vera have medicinal properties in it while cactus doesn’t have any such, and if we specifically talk about nopal cactus then yes it has beneficial in research but not all cactus would give you benefits.

Thrones on cactus are harsh while aloe vera can be carefully taken out with gloves as aloe vera spiky leaves doesn’t hurt that bad as compared to cactus. The thorns succulent like cactus have over 1800 species with unique structure to it and cacti can be recognized easily as they always have sharp thorns.

Their are some cactus forms like columnar, flobular, arborescent cacti grown in different habitats. Cactus always have spines that are not but modified leaves while if we see branches of some cactus are called thorns. Aloe vera doesn’t have thorns but tiny spikes in its leaves. 

Aloe Plant Care

Cactus Care

Final Words

I hope you have understood every difference about cactus and aloe vera plants and how they do have similarity but don’t have any connection in terms of family relation and now you can share this knowledge about “is aloe a cactus”. I am happy to help you in this subject of getting the right answer. Please check more such articles below.

Is Aloe a Succulent? (Plant Similarities, Resembles Cactus!)

Aloe Vera Turning Purple – How to Fix(6 Causes with Solution)

Leggy Aloe Vera – Stem Too Long(How to Fix), Repotting Plant

Aloe Vera Flower – What to do, When and How often It Bloom?