Meet the ‘King of Cactus’ with more than 5,000 plants in UAE

Frame from Obaid Rashid Al Mazroui’s TV interview
Image Credit: Screengrab

Dubai: For UAE citizen Obaid Rashid Al Mazroui, the cactus is not just a desert plant. It is an obsession. 

Fueled by his passion for this plant, Al Mazroui has travelled to most countries and deserts in the world and spent a fortune in an effort to find and bring different types of cactus plants to the UAE.

Al Mazroui, dubbed the King of Cactus, today owns the largest cactus farm in the UAE and probably in the Gulf. His farm is home to more than 5,000 plants of more than 1,000 different species of cacti.

What are Cacti?

Cacti generally have thick herbaceous or woody chlorophyll-containing stems. Cacti can be distinguished from other succulent plants by the presence of areoles, small cushionlike structures with trichomes (plant hairs) and, in almost all species, spines or barbed bristles (glochids). Areoles are modified branches, from which flowers, more branches, and leaves (when present) may grow.

There are about 2,000 different types of cactuses found in the world. Some are thin and very tall, and others are short and round like a ball – a very spikey ball. There are even cacti that look like bushes and some that look like ping pong paddles.

Although slow-growing, a cactus plant is fairly self-sustaining as it stores moisture in its roots, leaves and stems, and so largely regulates its own food intake. A cactus plant likes a light, airy and warm spot – but not too hot – and can cope well in direct sunlight.