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I own no land, instead I have wheelestate. I’ve been a full time RVer since 1997. Working summers as a Park Ranger takes me to many beautiful places and playing during the winter takes me to many more. This blog is simply the story of my life's adventures.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

MWT – The Saguaro Cactus People

Icons of the west, the saguaro cactus reminds me of people. And while visiting Saguaro National Park I met a few prickly characters.

03 Saguaro NP AZ

The grow in all shapes and sizes.

02 Saguaro NP AZ

The Sonoran Desert is the only place where the saguaro cactus grows naturally.

04 Young saguaro Saguaro NP AZ

If a saguaro seedling is to survive, it needs the protection of a “nurse plant”, (or in this case rock) which provides protection from the sun and freezing temperatures.

05 Saguaro NP AZ

After its first year, the seedlings highly variable growth is controlled by the amount of water in the soil.

06 Saguaro NP AZ

Saguaro’s flowers open at night during May and June and are pollinated by nectar feeding bats, but not until they are 35-40 years old when they may stand up to six feet tall.

07 Saguaro NP AZ

The first arm on a saguaro usually appears when the plant is 65-75 years old.

08 Saguaro NP AZ

Saguaro branches always grow upward but frost or snow can damage the base of a limb allowing the weight of the branch to pull it down.

09 Saguaro NP AZ

Yet if the branch survives, the growing tip will turn upward again.

10 Saguaro NP AZ

They normally live for 150-200 years and can grow to 50 feet tall. Death may come by freezing, lightning, wind, old age, vandalism or human development.

11 Saguaro NP AZ

When a saguaro dies, the woody ribs that supported it in life become visible as the softer plant tissue dries up and crumbles away.

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16 comments:

Martha Z said...

I'd love to see these in bloom but am unwilling to subject myself to the desert heat in May and June. This is a nice series of the non-blooming saguaro.

Jo said...

Wow, what an interesting post, Gaelyn. You are always so thorough in your explanations. I love the world you're travelling through now. Bless you and safe travels. Jo

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

What an interesting post, I had no idea the saguaro lived so long and they had to be so old before they branched. Diane

dowhatyoulove said...

They are such amazing plants! I loved seeing them last fall when we were down there. So amazing how old they are, and how long it takes them to flower. You have some great characters here!

Nina F said...

The age of a saguaro is amazing - what an interesting life each one has led - too bad that many people think of the desert as a dead wasteland without life, but we are lucky to know better.

Lucy (aka rharper) said...

How I love the Saguaros. To me I truly believe that they have a soul.

Elaine said...

What a fascinating variety of Saguaros you've shown. They each have their own character. Interesting that they only grow naturally in the Sonoran Desert. Lots of information in a very good post!

Barb said...

What a great post, Gaelyn - lots of interesting Saguaro info!

eileeninmd said...

Gaelyn interesting post on the Saguaro cactus. It is neat that they can live for so long and to bloom flowers. Your photos are wonderful.

aka Penelope said...

I, too, have seen the resemblance between cacti and people, not only in the prickly part but how they look with arms that seem to jut upwards. It would be nice if people lived as healthily and as long as many of them do. It is also interesting to learn that seedlings are vulnerable enough to need something near for protection. That is a very human trait. Thanks for sharing your journey into a fascinating desert world. :)

J Bar said...

Great shots.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Small City Scenes said...

Great info! Interesting facts. MB

Firefly said...

They are stunning. I wish I could have some of them in my garden. I had something similar but unfortunately somewhere along the way it kicked the bucket.

Walk in New York said...

une belle collection de cactus

Publicity ;o) Every Friday (and the Weekend), The Challenge "Walk In The Street Photography"

Ruth said...

A great set of photos. They are interesting plants for sure. I know people with similar prickles, but you feel them before you see them.

Betty Manousos@ CUT AND DRY said...

Omg thanks! I needed that.

I love cactus...I'd love to see them in bloom.
Amazing photos!

Betty

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