I am again linking with Not Afraid of Color for I Like Thursday this week. If you missed my first “I Like” post (Shopping at thrift stores) you can find it here. I had planned to link each Thursday but life got in the way. So I’ll leave it as I’ll link as often as I can.
This post may not be surprising to some of you since I live in Arizona in the winter.
2. I like the Saguaro Cactus.
I like — I mean I really like — Saguaros. From the first time I saw a Saguaro (pronounced sah-wah-roh), I was enamored by the way they looked: tall and stately, standing silently, just waiting for something to happen, just don’t touch since they do have sharp spines, after all.
I even like Saguaros on quilts. These two were at the Tucson Quilt Festival that I attended on Feb. 17th, 2017.
The movie at the Saguaro National Park Visitor Center near Tucson says that Saguaros look like people ready to march over the hills. At dusk, if you squint, you can actually see that might be true.
I’ve seen many Saguaros. It helps to live in this desert. Phoenix is in the upper part of the Sonoran desert—the wettest desert on earth which gets between 7-10 inches of rainfall each year. Saguaros are only found in the Sonoran desert. Similar looking cactuses (called Cardon) are found in Baja CA, upper Mexico, and a few have been transplanted in the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. Although they look similar to the Saguaro, they grow much larger.
Saguaros grow slowly. In the desert, it may take 10 years for them to reach an initial height of one inch. If they are lucky and don’t get eaten or trampled, they can reach 45-50 feet tall in their 150-200 year lifespan.
They start forming arms when they are between 50-100 years old. Some don’t get arms at all and some get many. I’ve seen some with arms on arms. You can’t tell the age of a Saguaro by counting its rings like a tree or by the number of arms they have.
The Saguaro has internal ribs made of wood. They can weigh several tons (an adult one can weigh up to 8 tons) after a good rainstorm depending on the source you read. Contrary to what you’ve seen in western movies, you can not save yourself in the desert by eating one to get water.
I see Saguaros in yards around my Arizona home and along highways. But my favorite place to see them is out in the wild or in the National Park. I hope you get a chance to see some too.
Some of the residents of my village decorate their Saguaros for Christmas. Some Saguaros seem to develop their own decorations.
These crested Saguaros are quite rare. Sources list their ratio as 1 in 200,000. I’ve seen two in captivity: one at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix and one at the Desert Museum near Tucson, and three in the wild: one on the Desert Belle Boat trip around Saguaro Lake, one just outside the Visitor Center at Saguaro National Park, and one took us by complete surprise as we walked along a trail in Colossal Cave Mountain Park near Tucson.
- I want to travel to Organ Pipe National Monument in southern Arizona. The ranger at Saguaro National Park says there are even more Saguaros there as well as lots of Organ Pipe Cacti. Maybe I will like Organ Pipes, too.
- Both cactuses and cacti are acceptable when speaking of more than one cactus. However, cacti is the more common plural form. I am relieved as I rarely say anything the common way.
- I have difficulty telling the difference between a Cardon or a Saguaro in the Desert Botanical Gardens. It’s a good thing they are labeled.
- I’ve always wanted one in my Arizona yard. But with so many of them in my neighborhood falling over, that may never happen. I think they get too much water from irrigation or run-off.
- Since I’ve seen 5 crested Saguaros, I guess that means I must have already seen a million Saguaros.
- There’s a crested Saguaro in Scottsdale at a Golf Club that I think I’ll go find.
- The number of Saguaros in Saguaro National Park have increased since the last census was taken of them. Yes, they count Saguaros.
- It is illegal to move a Saguaro off of private or public land without a permit (learned by reading not experience).
- I live in a very interesting part of the country.
Question: Have you ever been to a desert or would you like to?
Thanks for stopping by and do come again.
Karen, Tu-Na Quilts
Linking to Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.
those are beautiful cacti – one of these days would love to see that national park – yes I’ve been to deserts – we lived in a high altitude desert area in Idaho in the middle of state back in the 70’s for 3 years and have seen several in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Nevada – amazing areas
We have so many nice National Parks here in the U. S. I would love to visit them all.
One of my favorite books is the “Cactus Hotel” which explains all the holes found in the Saguaro Cacti…you’ll have to check it out for your grandchildren. When we first saw the Saguaro, we were disappointed because it was full of holes and wasn’t the perfect 2-armed shaped cactus that you see in pictures. But after reading the Cactus Hotel, it gave me a new appreciation for the real-life cactus. Now we play a game trying to find the “perfect” cactus and sometimes will find one only to drive around the corner to see a third arm in the back….
Those cacti are remarkable! I’m not too familiar with the desert environment but did go for a hike not far from Las Vegas once and was in awe of all the different plants.
Some people think there isn’t much beauty in the desert. The Sonoran desert has a lot of vegetation at least in the areas that we’ve been. We’ve experience several springs now with beautiful cactus flowers and wildflowers. Spring is approaching already. My orange tree is about to bloom.
We discovered saguaros when my parents bought a winter home in Mesa about 35 years ago! Our kids were little at the time, and we loved reading and learning more about them. Back then we always drove down to Grandma and Grandpa’s house every spring, and we had a contest to see who could spot the first saguaro on the highway coming south out of Payson. Then we knew we were almost there! I still love seeing them, and really enjoyed your photos and info about them!
I love that drive down from Payson. It’s loaded with Saguaros and prickly pear. Did you ever drive out to Tortilla Flats? They have prickly pear ice cream. It’s a drive we take all of our company too. It’s beautiful.
Thanks for all the gorgeous pictures. Makes me want to go there!!
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Oh, yeah, I’d come back to the Sonora Desert in a heartbeat, if I could! I love every little fact, such as did you know that the Kangaroo Rat has evolved so it doesn’t need external water sources? It gets all the moisture it needs from the food it eats. Now that’s survival in the desert! I miss it, and this post was a wonderful trip down memory lane. I’ll get to be in Tucson for a week at the end of January, and I’m SO looking forward to it. I won’t want to come home! =)
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