Huge cactus collection located in North Dakota - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Huge cactus collection located in North Dakota

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A desert environment created in North Dakota close to the Canadian border is home to thousands of cactus plants. (Source: KXMC/CBS) A desert environment created in North Dakota close to the Canadian border is home to thousands of cactus plants. (Source: KXMC/CBS)

DUNSEITH, ND (KXMC/CBS) - Of all the ways to find thousands of cacti in one place, the U.S.-Canadian border is one of the best places to start.

The International Peace Garden has more than 10,000 square feet of the plants, which a man named Don Vitko donated.

An addition in January allowed Vitko's full collection to go on display.

"For one man to amass this diversity is a big accomplishment," said horticulturalist Johannes Olwage. "We have finally been able to display the whole collection of 6,000 plants. Before, we only had 1,000 on display."

Olwage runs what is called a "hot house," a virtual desert that allows the plants to flourish.

This space is separated into regions - South America; Africa, Madagascar, the Canary Islands; and North America. It's almost like taking a trip around the world.

Visitors can take in the one-of-a-kind collection 12 months a year.

"In the North American bed, visitors will recognize a lot of the plants they know from the desert Southwest," Olwage said. "Most people are just not that interested in the names, but they want to get out of the cold and experience a desert indoors. It is very gratifying, and there is a sigh of relief and a measure of pride in having it done."

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