While Shaun and I were on our Southwestern United States road trip to Burning Man, we stopped to visit some very awesome friends who live in Scottsdale (who… shhhh…. we met on World of Warcraft!). I always like take advice from local friends on where to explore. Not only do they give you the uber secret local places to go but are also aware of the super awesome touristy places to discover as well. How can you not be cliche in Scottsdale, Arizona? We all hopped into the car and headed into the saguaro cactus filled desert mountains.
We came across what appeared to be a western “Disneyland” full of fake and AWESOMENESS. While meandering our way through kitschy Western antique stores, I found this beauty of a saguaro cactus.
The saguaro (/səˈwɑroʊ/; scientific name Carnegiea gigantea) is an arborescent (tree-like) cactus species in the monotypic genus Carnegiea, which can grow to be over 20 meters (~70 ft) tall. It is native to the Sonoran Desert in the U.S. state of 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.
The common name saguaro came into the English language through the Spanish language, originating in the Mayo language.
Saguaros have a relatively long life span. They may grow their first side arm anywhere from 50 to 75 years of age, but some never grow one at all. A saguaro without arms is called a spear.
The arms are grown to increase the plant’s reproductive capacity (more apices lead to more flowers and fruit). The growth rate of saguaros is strongly dependent on precipitation; saguaros in drier western Arizona grow only half as fast as those in and around Tucson, Arizona. Some specimens may live for more than 150 years; the largest known saguaro is the Champion Saguaro. It grows in Maricopa County, Arizona, and is 13.8 meters (45.3 ft) tall with a girth of 3.1 meters (10 ft). These cacti can grow anywhere from 40 to 60 feet. They grow slowly from seed, and never from cuttings. Whenever it rains, saguaros soak up the rainwater. The cactus will visibly expand, holding in the rainwater. It conserves the water and slowly consumes it. – Wikipedia