In a Nutshell:
* The saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) is an arborescent (tree-like) cactus species in the monotypic genus Carnegiea, which can grow to be over 70 feet (21 m) tall. It is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, the Mexican State of Sonora, and the Whipple Mountains and Imperial County areas of California.
* The saguaro blossom is the state wildflower of Arizona.
* In 1994, Saguaro National Park, near Tucson, Arizona, was designated to help protect this species and its habitat.
* The image of the saguaro is indelibly linked with that of the American Southwest, especially in western films.
* Saguaros have a relatively long lifespan, often exceeding 150 years. They may grow their first side arm any time from 75–100 years of age, but some never grow any arms.
* A saguaro is able to absorb and store considerable amounts of rainwater, visibly expanding in the process, while slowly using the stored water as needed. This characteristic enables the saguaro to survive during periods of drought.
* Flowers appear in April through June. They are white and open well after sunset and close in mid-afternoon. They continue to produce nectar after sunrise.
* The ruby red fruits are 2.4 to 3.5 inches (6 to 9 cm) long and ripen in June. Each fruit contains around 2,000 seeds plus sweet fleshy connective tissue. The fruits are edible and prized by local people.
* Native birds such as Gila woodpeckers, purple martins, house finches, and gilded flickers live inside holes in saguaros. Flickers excavate larger holes higher on the stem. The nest cavity is deep, and the parents and young are entirely hidden from view. The saguaro creates callus tissue on the wound. When the saguaro dies and its soft flesh rots, the callus remains as a so-called "saguaro boot", which was used by natives for storage. more...