All About the Saguaro Cactus

Local Living

The saguaro cactus is the largest cactus in the United States, with an average life-span of 150-175 years, though some cactus are over 200 years old! The saguaro cactus can reach over 40-feet in height, and won't start developing branches until around 50-70 years.

The saguaro cactus only grows in the Sonoran Desert of the U.S. and Mexico due to freezing temps and higher altitudes outside the region. White flowers begin to bloom from May to June, followed by bright-red fruits. The cactus is mostly composed of water and can weigh up to 6-tons.

The saguaro cactus is vital in contributing to the circle of desert life. The saguaro cactus provides both food and shelter for a variety of dessert creatures. Small birds build nest cavities within the cactus, and larger birds use sticks to build a nest among the cactus arms. Flowers, fruit, and flesh provide nectar, moisture, and food for birds, bats, insects, reptiles, and mammals throughout the year.

The biggest threat to the Saguaro cactus is risk due to fire from new exotic plants being introduced into our vegetation, such as buffelgrass that makes the spread of fire more rampant. Whether you're out hiking, biking, or driving through Tucson, the Saguaro cactus is always an amazing sight to see.

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