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Saguaro Cactus - A Very Unusual Looking Tree Of The Desert
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© CT-Graphics - Christine Till
Mention the word cactus and, thanks to western movies, for many people the first thing that comes to mind is the mighty Saguaro cactus. The magnficent Saguaro cactus (sometimes spelt Sahuaro), a night-bloomer and Arizona's state flower, is the symbol of the Desert Southwest. This tree-like plant grows only in the Sonoran Desert of extreme southeastern California, southern Arizona and adjoining northwestern Mexico.
Saguaro Cacti, the largest cacti in the USA, reach a height of up to 15m (the record is 17,67m), but in their first ten years, they grow only 10cm. It takes 75 years before the characteristic arms begin to grow out from the trunk. The "mother-in-law's cushion" reaches a height of 2.5m and a diameter of 1m. The largest plants, with more than 5 arms, are estimated to be 200 to 300 years old.
The Gila Woodpecker and the Gilded Flicker make their home in the Sahuaro cactus by chiseling holes in the trunk.
Most of the mature Saguaros that can be seen today are from seeds that started sprouting in the years before the American Revolution which explains why they are protected by the United States government and why developers go to great lengths to move them before developing land on which Saguaros are growing. Go there to discover the beauty of Saguaro Cacti when at least 40 other states are snowed under. A desert at sunset is a very pretty sight.
May 16th, 2010
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