Monday, October 20, 2008

The mighty Saguaro

I got my first look at the mighty Saguaro at age 12, when I visited Arizona for the first time with my parents. I was amazed at the huge cactus and the exotic landscaping of the Sonoran desert. To a kid from South Dakota this was a strange land indeed. About 15 years ago I lived in cold Wyoming and a picture of a Saguaro adorned my bulletin board- it was a dream I'd had forever to live in Tucson Arizona. I did eventually make it and after 14 years living here, I am still captivated with this harsh and beautiful desert and its plant and animal inhabitants. The Saguaro is pretty amazing, and as I've posted previously I would love to have one in my yard. I am lucky though that there are a few in my neighborhood so I don't have to walk far to enjoy them.

The Saguaro in my header picture and in the first three pictures below, is actually two Saguaros that have grown together. The one lost an arm and their main trunks are very pitted with holes but they seem pretty sturdy overall and I hope to have them standing longer than I am around to take pictures of them. The two of them leaning together look so content and harmonious don't you think?

Another neighbor has this young Saguaro in her yard. This one has no arms yet so is less than 100 years old. The large ones with more than five arms are estimated to be more than 200 years old. Can you imagine what they have seen in their lifetimes? It boggles the mind!

The pictures below are from Picacho Peak in Picacho Arizona. The southernmost battle of the Civil War was fought here and it is reenacted each year in the same spot. The Saguaros grow up the side of the hills- quite a sight!

The Saguaro blooms in May with beautiful white flowers. The ones in my header picture are closed as they are night blooming. They are pollinated by bats, insects and birds. Fruit follows the flowers. The fruit is often made into candy and syrups.
An interesting fact I found is that the Saguaro flower has more stamens than any other cactus flower and the fruit has more seeds than any other cactus fruit.


Rosemary said...

your cactus are amazing, more amazing how long they live!

Deborah Godin said...

That's a whole other time frame than I normally think of with plants! Nothing is so emblematic of the desert; no wonder you love it there.

Northern Shade said...

I didn't realize how old Saguaro could be. I had heard of problems with people digging up the wild cactus, and now I see why. It's not something you're going to grow in a nursery in the short term.

Aiyana said...

The woodpeckers and cactus wrens have been really busy with the double Saguaro! I've not seen holes this low on Saguaros before. I wonder if the lower holes are some other damage. I have 5 Saguaros in yard. All are young, and growing so slowly. Until I look at past photos, it doesn't seem they've grown at all.

The Tile Lady said...

I really love saguaros, too! They are so beautiful and magestic. Great post!

Tere said...

I liked much those photos. They are precious. Greetings from Spain:)