The Mighty Saguaro

The saguaro (/səˈwɑːr/, Spanish pronunciation: [saˈɣwaɾo]) (Carnegiea gigantea) is an arborescent (tree-like) cactus species in the monotypic genus Carnegiea, which can grow to be over 70 feet (21 m) tall. It is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, the Mexican State of Sonora, and the Whipple Mountains and Imperial County areas of California. The saguaro blossom is the state wildflower of Arizona. Its scientific name is given in honor of Andrew Carnegie.

The common name saguaro came into the English language through the Spanish language, originating in the Mayo

Most people, when they think of Arizona and the west, immediately think of cactus and the one they most often envision is the saguaro.  When I was a child sitting in the back seat of my folks Ford, we often traveled to Arizona and this is where I saw my first one.  Of course I had to do the try and touch one of the spines things and I paid for that – but I had to do it!  They are beautiful to see especially when they bloom and they come in so many different shapes and sizes.

These cacti live to be very very old as shown here with good old Methuselah.  It is said that he is the oldest of his kind in Arizona.  They take quite a long time before they grow arms, upwards of 60 or 70 plus years, so when you see one with lots of arms then you know it’s got some years under its spines.  And did you know that one without arms is called a spear?  They are protected by law and you are not even allowed to remove the ribs of a dead one without permission which I think isn’t given often.  Even if you are building in an area with them, you either build around them or you must carefully move and replant them.  No paving paradise and putting up a parking lot willy nilly here!

On my recent trip to Arizona I was intrigued by the shapes (number or arms and what direction they were growing in) as well as how in some areas they seemed to be growing in rows as if they were in line to go somewhere.  This photo was taken next to the Superstition Mountain early in the morning.  Interested in seeing and reading more about the great saguaro?  Then please visit my friend Nancy at her Two Trails One Road blog… she’s lucky because she gets to see the saguaros all the time.

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About imagesbytdashfield

Fine art photographer who loves to see and capture the amazing things in this world. Owner of Images by TDashfield photography.
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14 Responses to The Mighty Saguaro

  1. Nice one Teri. I think my first learning about them came from Road Runner cartoons. They really are a fascinating subject. Cheers.

  2. Real beauties and yes, as a child you just HAVE to touch them…much the same as “tasting” a frozen pole with your tongue up in the North.

  3. Nancy says:

    Awe… Awe… ☺️ Thanks for mentioning me… Partner in crime!
    Did you know that when they transplant saguaros they have to know exactly the correct measurements of how it is facing the sun. So when they go to plant it in its new place it is facing the sun correctly or it will die. Just another fascinating tidbit from your ole saguaro hugger!

  4. Ingrid says:

    They are indeed a fascinating plant that continues to intrigue me. Seeing them flower takes their beauty to another level 🙂

  5. ChgoJohn says:

    Thanks for the lesson, Teri. Being out there when the cacti were in bloom must have been an unforgettable experience of the best kind. I was thrilled last summer when my little prickly pear bloomed in my yard. I cannot imagine looking over an area of cacti in bloom.

  6. :-). Great blog post. Between you and Nancy I learned a quite a bit about Saguaro’s.

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