(Photo Challenge) “Relax.”

A relaxing hike in the Sonoran Desert will bring you peace, and tranquility while viewing the beauty of nature’s landscapes. Below, I have listed facts about the Saguaro Cactus in found all over the Sonoran Desert.

The Sonoran Desert covers vast areas of the Southwestern United States in Arizona and California, and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur.

The Sonoran Desert Museum provides a detailed listing of every type of plant species, animals There are different kinds of plants that cover the vast areas of the Sonoran Desert, and the following is a short list of some of the plant species.

Brittlebush
Buckhorn Cholla
Desert Marigold
Fishook Barrel Cactus
Flowers and Fruit
Foothills Palo Verde
Globe Mallow
Ocotillo
Prickly Pear
Saguaro Cactus
Summer Poppy

 

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The Saguaro Cactus is one of the defining plants of the Sonoran Desert. These plants are large, tree-like columnar cacti that develop branches (or arms) as they age, although some never grow arms. These arms bend upward and can number over 25. Saguaros are covered with protective spines, white flowers in the late spring, and red fruit in summer.

Habitat

Saguaros are found exclusively in the Sonoran Desert. The most important factors for growth are water and temperature. If the elevation is too high, the cold weather and frost can kill the saguaro. Although the rain Desert experiences both winter and summer rains, it is thought that the Saguaro obtains most of its moisture during the summer rainy season.

Range

You find this cactus in southern Arizona and western Sonora, Mexico. At the northern portion of their range, they are more plentiful in the warmer south facing slopes. A few stray plants can also be found in southeast California.

Wild Status

The saguaro is not currently listed as threatened or endangered. Arizona has strict regulations about the harvesting, collection or destruction of this species.

Life Span

With the right growing conditions, it is estimated that saguaros can live to be as much as 150-200 years old.

Size

Saguaro are very slow growing cactus. A 10-year-old plant might only be 1.5 inches tall. Saguaro can grow to be between 40-60 feet tall (12-18m). When rain is plentiful, and the saguaro is fully hydrated it can weigh between 3200-4800 pounds.

Quick Facts

  • The saguaro is the largest cactus in the United States.
  • Most of the saguaros roots are only 4-6 inches deep and radiate out as far from the plant as it is tall. There is one deep root or tap root that extends down into the ground more than 2 feet.
  • After the saguaro dies its woody ribs can be used to build roofs, fences, and parts of furniture. The holes that birds nested in or “saguaro boots” can be found among the dead saguaros. Native Americans used these as water containers long before the canteen was available.

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