They remind us of nature’s irreverent brutality, and of its occasional inexplicability.
They evoke places where people can’t survive. But when removed from those places—their native habitats—individually potted, and sold as decoration for a house, a garden, or an office, they are among the easiest plants a person can have, requiring little or no care and still looking good.
More unusual species can be novelties, or prizes for collectors, or even significant investments.
But many people never consider where their potted cactus or succulent originated, and what purpose its bizarre characteristics served.