The Giant Saguaro
The Saguaro National Park: Who said the desert is without itâ€™s own charms? Arizona is known to be a desert, well with temperatures soaring in the 3 digits before mid year, yeah, you can call it the desert. Did you also know that the state flower of Arizona is the Saguaro cactus bloom? The saguaro is a cactus tree which blooms great with different color flowers, white being the most common color of the flowers. For most people, the giant Saguaro is a universal symbol for the American wild west - mostly Arizona. Saguaro National Park is home to some of the most phenomenal forests of these sub-tropical giant saguaros, on the edge of the modern City of Tucson.
In my Sonoita blog, I did mention I lived in the countryside for four years, during those four years I drove by the Saguaro National Park everyday on my way to work.
I saw almost 10 types of cacti (by the way, the plural of cactus is not cactuses, itâ€™s cacti, lol!), the Saguaro being the most prominent because it grows quite tall. The interesting thing about the Saguaro flower is that it blooms for almost a month. In the day time it sleeps and opens sup at night, the flower at a later stage turns into a reddish fruits that birds love feasting on.
The saguaro blosoom, beautiful flower from a cactus wouldn't you say?
At my work place, we do have some full grown cacti by the drive way, they make for such great outdoor ambiance you know, you are in Arizona is you can see more than 10 cacti in one area. Besides the Saguaro, Tucson has some great cacti that bloom in the springtime revealing breath-taking colors. Just yesterday I was amazed after almost five years, to find that there is a particular kind of cactus that turns purple in spring, it bears beautiful yellow flowers.
The Barrel cacti are some of the more common cacti, the grow short and stout producing yellow and white flowers that last just about a month then the birds feast on the dead flowers. Others include the Beaver cacti, the cholla, the Arizona ball, the Arizona Hedgehog, the claretcups, strawberry hedghog, twin pincushions (they grow in pairs, one next to the other), Staghorns, the common yellow prickly pears, the Arizona Rainbow, the organ pipe (one of the rare cacti in AZ), and fish hook. There are so many other types, I would need to become a botanist to get you all the details, so far these have fascinated me and I thought I would share.
I can still remember the first time I saw the saguaro cactus, it was in an e-mail that a friend sent from Germany, it formed shapes of human beings and some had embarrassing body part shapes hahaaaa!! When I relocated to Arizona in 2004, I was amazed at how true those e-mail pictures were.
These giant saguaros grow in different shapes and sizes, one I saw last week looked like a hunchback, lol! Others look like folks and others stand alone like a pole. I wonder why I did not take much interest in them before, I guess moving to Tucson just opened my eyes more to what the green of the desert can do to oneâ€™s sense of color and nature. While in Sonoita, the abundance of green and plants make it hard to appreciate them. Tucson has high rise buildings, pavements, roads, fumes etc. Plants and trees make for such a pleasant presence of nature. It is first getting commercialized and trees are being cut down.
Rosy under the giant saguaro
What I particularly love is the fact that cutting down a saguaro is a crime punishable by law here in Arizona.
TUCSON TRAVBUDDY MEET-UP: On the evening of the ninth after dropping off Tim at the airport, Rosy and I decided to go sight seeing since she was anxious about not seeing anything before she leaves.
The wind factor was high and the natural light outside seemed to deam with the setting of the sun. To satisfy the curiosity and long held need to see the desert cacti, I decided to take Rosy to the Saguaro National Park which is about 20 miles from my house. The first cactus we stopped by, was the giant Saguaro - the same one that Rosy had attempted to capture right from the day she landed in Phoenix, LOL!. The Giant Saguaro is the most fascinating plant of the Sonoran Desert. It has a thick, tough , waxy skin with a well sealed woody skeleton inside. It's arms and trunks are pleated like the accordion with the ability to expand and contract based on the amount of water it takes. The Saguaro has thousands of spines in place of leaves which it uses to protect itself.
One might ask, why does the Saguaro need to protect itself, it's just a plant. well like all things with stimuli, it is a living thing and needs protection from the forces of nature or otherwise.
The sotol plant has long narrow leaves with sharp teeth along their edges, you may want to avoid these plants while in the desert