Sunday, January 04, 2009

Arizona's Saguaro Cactus

This Christmas I went down to Arizona and visited my parents snowbirding in Apache Junction. Around the area, saguaro cacti are prevalent, dotting the valley in place of trees. Along the newly constructed highway, I noticed many saguaros perched up with boards, part of the mandatory relocation process for the protected cactus. Symbols of Arizona (and its state flower), saguaros are a curious species. I learned it takes up to 75 years before the first "arm" to grow. In addition, the rate of saguaro growth is highly dependent on the amount of rainfall. Since the reproductive flowers and fruit are found on the arms, more arms are desirable. Not arriving in the right season, I didn't get to see the pretty flowers and the seed-filled fruits - but I heard it's quite pretty in the area during spring, provided sufficient rain.

I wonder: How long does it take to produce the next arms? Can you tell how old a saguaro is by the number of arms? Another method?

1 comment:

Pat said...

Hey! Is that cactus smiling?!