Saguaro National Park

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Information about Saguaro Cactus at bottom of page.

Many people believe the desert to be barren. Not true!. There is an abundance of plant and animal life. Snakes, lizards, birds, animals, flowers, shrubs, cacti and etc. Saguaro National Park is in the Sonorian Desert of Southern Arizona. I love the deserts to include the Anza-Borrego in Southern California, Mohave in East Central California and Sonora in Southern Arizona. The flora and fauna (plant life) can completely change within as little as 7-10 miles. It is also very peaceful and serene. For anyone to really enjoy the desert they has to believe in God and all of his creations, you cannot look at something so fabulous and not believe. The flowers bloom in the desert in early spring after the first rains. Yes, it does rain in the desert. I have seen it rain in the desert as hard as it rains anywhere else, just doesn't last as long.

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03. Saguaro Cactus. Average size about 30 ft tall. 18to 24 inches in diameter. 

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06. Saguaro Cactus

07. Saguaro Cactus

08. Saguaro Cactus. See the bird nest in the arms. God works it all out for all of his creature.

09. Saguaro in bloom. The blooms only last one day. State Flower Of Arizona

10. Saguaro in bloom. Honeybees love the bloom.

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13. Prickly Pear Cactus

14. Prickly Pear Cactus in bloom

15.  Prickly Pear Cactus in bloom

16. Prickly Pear Cactus in bloom

16. Prickly Pear Cactus

18. Organ Pipe Cactus. Grows in a small area of the Sonoran Desert only from southwestern Arizona to western Sonora, Mexico. This columnar cactus is the second largest cactus in the U.S. (next to the Saguaro) growing as tall as 23 feet. Instead of having a central stem, however, a cluster of 5 to 20 slender branches grow from a point at ground level and curve upward.

Saguaro and Organ Pipe Cactas

19. Mexican Jumping Bean

20. Hedgehog Cactus

21. Christmas Chollo

22. Teddy Bear Chollo and Ocotello

23. Jumping Chollo

24. Don't know

25. Birds on the right are Quail. Don't know the bird on the left. Lots of people believe the desert
to be barren. Not true! There is an abundance of plant and animal life

26. Quail

 

 
Saguaro grows in the Desert in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

Saguaros are slow growing, taking up to 75 years to develop a side arm. The arms themselves are grown to store more water for the Saguaro. Some specimens may live for more than 200 years. In addition to being slow growing, they are also slow to propagate. These two factors argue for the placement of the saguaro on the endangered species list. Harming one in any manner (including cactus plugging) is illegal by state law in Arizona, and when houses or highways are built, special permits must be obtained to move or destroy any saguaro affected.

The night-blooming flowers appear April-May and the juicy red fruit matures by late June. Saguaro flowers are self incompatible and require a pollenizer to supply viable pollen. A well-pollinated fruit will contain several thousand tiny seeds, and large quantities of pollen are required for pollination. The major pollinators are bats feeding on the nectar from the night-blooming flowers, which often remain open in the morning. The characteristics of the flower are geared toward pollination by the bats: the nocturnal opening of the flowers, maturation of pollen, and the nectar.

Gila Woodpeckers and the Gilded Flicker create holes for nests in saguaros. Flickers excavate larger holes higher on the stem, penetrating the ribs. Their holes sometimes cause enough damage to cause death and other problems. These woodpeckers create new nest holes each season, rather than reuse the old ones, thus leaving convenient nest holes for a variety of other animals, especially birds such as the Elf Owl.

The ribs of the saguaro weree used for construction and other purposes by aboriginal Americans of the region. A fine example can be seen in the roofing of the cloisters of the Mission San Xavier del Bac on the Tohono O'odham lands near Tucson, Arizona. The Seri people of northwestern Mexico used the plant, which they call mojépe, for a number of purposes.

The saguaro blossom is the state flower of Arizona.

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