The saguaro (/səˈwɑːroʊ/, 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.
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.