Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Saguaro National Park, Arizona

This park is actually in two sections, east and west, on each side of the city of Tucson. We visited the east park and were amazed at the saguaro cacti that were dotted all over the area, both in a valley and up to a mountainous area. Of course, there were numerous other cactus species in the area, some I haven't seen before.

The photo above shows the area and an example of saguaro. The photo below is me leaning on the cactus (only kidding - they're not cuddly) and that cactus could be over 150 years old.  It takes them 35 years to grow to 6 feet tall, and that's when their first flowers appear. It will take them 60-75 years to reach 16 feet.  There were numerous holes in some of them where the desert birds had made homes in them. The cactus keeps them warm in winter and cool in summer. Some birds make the holes to nest in and other birds take over the nests after they are abandoned and then they nest in them. We did see some nests that were built on the outside, between the arms of the cactus.

One of my favorite is a cholla, and I found out they are available in purple as shown below - called Staghorn Cholla. They bloom in the spring and I'm planning to be in an area where they bloom. I have seen some photos of cactus blooms, and they are gorgeous. I'll have a field day photographing during that time!

Another type of cholla is the teddy bear cholla, they have so many spines that it appears to be furry. Most of them are small, but this one looks like a tree.


Following are some interesting ones, but I'm not sure of their names, the triple one is intruiging, but I think it's out of the ordinary.

I will be looking forward to seeing the west section of this park when I move near Tucson in a few days.  


  1. Heard lots of people call those chollas "jumping chollas" as they seem to just reach right out and get you with their spines.....not fun at all. You got some great cactus photos!

  2. The prickly pear is the only one that has gotten me so far!