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4/14/10

Exclusive to Sonora and Arizona

Where Saguaros grow tall...








Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) cactus grow only in the Sonoran Desert in the State of Arizona (US) and in the State of Sonora (Mexico) although they can be found in a small area of Baja California (MX) and California (US). It is correct when they appear in large groupings like this to refer to a Saguaro Forest. Most people born in the 1950s or earlier who have lived in the Sonoran Desert can recall when the current forests, especially in Phoenix and Tucson, were much more dense and thickly populated with saguaros. Saguaros live long lives and an adult saguaro is generally about 125 years old and the average life span is 150 to 175 years. There are some saguaros believed to live over 200 years.  

They are quite common and not an endangered species but are protected by law in the State of Arizona from being harmed in any way.

In 2002 the Town of Oro Valley, intent on a road extension for La Canada Drive to accommodate development, moved a 200 year old, 40 foot tall, 40 ton saguaro. The removal is symbolic that the biggest threat to the Saguaro has been human population and development. This cactus was given a 10% to 70%
survival rate chance but saguaros are know to survive areas where the surrounding brush and grasslands were significantly burnt. I was unable to locate information on how that saguaro is faring.

Saguaros have night blooming flowers from April through May and the fruit matures around June. They are nesting areas for desert birds and the woody spine ribs were once used by the Hohokam in daily life. Tohono O'odham use the fruit for wine, jelly and candles.