Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Saguaro -- the giant cactus of the Arizonan desert

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Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
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jamesicus
Jan 21, 2016 7:48 PM CST
Photos of Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) in habitat and the xerophytic plants and desert animals that live in association with this cactus.



Mature plant in the desert

I use The Plant List for all my plant nomenclature. You can copy and paste a Latin Plant name such as
Carnegiea gigantea into the The Plant List Search box to see synonyms, the author's name and additional information

[Last edited by jamesicus - Jan 25, 2016 5:21 PM (+)]
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Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
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jamesicus
Jan 22, 2016 6:22 PM CST
Saguaro habitat:


Opuntia engelmannii

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Mesquite, Palo Verde, Cholla & Ferocactus

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Shrubs: creosote, salt bush, ragweed

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Smallest Saguaro seedling I have found in habitat

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Mammillaria microcarpa (syn) growing under Mesquite tree

I use The Plant List for all my plant nomenclature. You can copy and paste a Latin Plant name such as
Mammillaria microcarpa into the The Plant List Search box to see synonyms, the author's name and additional information
[Last edited by jamesicus - Jan 25, 2016 5:22 PM (+)]
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Bromeliad
Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier
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Baja_Costero
Jan 24, 2016 5:53 PM CST
Thank you for sharing your pictures of these plants. I would be curious to see more saguaro pictures, especially flowers.

Here are a few of the natives from our part of the Sonoran Desert.





These last two pics show Mammillaria dioica in flower and a tiny baby in habitat near CataviƱa.

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[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jan 24, 2016 5:54 PM (+)]
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Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
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jamesicus
Jan 24, 2016 6:18 PM CST
Baja_Costero said:Thank you for sharing your pictures of these plants. I would be curious to see more saguaro pictures, especially flowers ................


And thank you for your excellent photos, Baja. Saguaro pictures per your request:

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Buds just forming -- late March

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Well formed buds -- early April

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Buds and flowers -- early May

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Buds and flowers -- mid May

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Buds and flowers -- late May

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Flower close-up

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Flower close-up with (bee) pollinator

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Unripe fruit -- early june

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Fully ripe fruit -- late June

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The shortest plant I have encountered in flower -- 5ft. (approx. 1.5m)




[Last edited by jamesicus - Jan 24, 2016 6:19 PM (+)]
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Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Garden Art
Plumerias Hibiscus Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Dog Lover Cat Lover
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plantmanager
Jan 25, 2016 7:36 PM CST
Here is a Saguaro pic my husband took one evening when we were out in the far north Scottsdale, Arizona desert. The Saguaros in the area were not in great shape, but we loved these inhabitants.

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Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
Image
jamesicus
Jan 25, 2016 8:04 PM CST
plantmanager said:Here is a Saguaro pic my husband took one evening when we were out in the far north Scottsdale, Arizona desert. The Saguaros in the area were not in great shape, but we loved these inhabitants ................


Thanks for posting that Karen. I too love Saguaro habitat inhabitants and have constantly taken snapshots of them. Here are some pics (for now):


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"Wiley Coyote" with standing Saguaro skeleton

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Watchful Tarantula

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Scorpion on the prowl

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Desert king snake

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Close-up pic of desert king snake

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Gila monster resting in the shade of a Ferocactus wislizenii

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Fledgling great horned owl

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Mom great horned owl
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Jan 25, 2016 8:44 PM CST
Great picture, Karen. Thumbs up
Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
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jamesicus
Jan 26, 2016 10:43 AM CST
In the hot summer months Tarantulas are often encountered


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They look ugly to many people

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If handled gently they are not aggressive

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In fact, they are quite harmless


James

Name: Agavegirl1
South Sonoran Desert (Zone 9b)
"Give me a museum and I'll fill it"
Cactus and Succulents Hummingbirder Butterflies Bee Lover Critters Allowed Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Dog Lover Garden Photography Region: Southwest Gardening Xeriscape
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AgaveGirl1
Jan 26, 2016 11:29 AM CST
Ewwwwwww! Spiders! Grumbling About had a stroke just looking at the picture. Have no fear of other bugs, snake, reptiles or other such things. Show me a common house spider and I'll dance like Michael Jackson and screech like a little girl. EWWWWWWWWWW! Spiders!

I'll spare you the gory details of the grisly deaths spiders encounter whenever I see them. All I have to say is thank goodness for a chemical concoction called "Raid"! Hurray! I've emptied more than my fair share of cans and I could care less about the copious amounts ozone hole creating, cancer inducing and genetically mutational agents I might be breathing.

The spider died and I honestly don't mind that extra thumb and the 3rd eye on the back of my head.

But I digressed from Saguaro cacti.

Here's a photo of my favorite. I wonder how old this guy might be. He is honestly about the biggest and tallest Saguaro I've ever seen. Lovey dubby Let me know what you think.
AG



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Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
Image
jamesicus
Jan 26, 2016 12:13 PM CST
AgaveGirl1 said:Ewwwwwww! Spiders! Grumbling About had a stroke just looking at the picture. Have no fear of other bugs, snake, reptiles or other such things. Show me a common house spider and I'll dance like Michael Jackson and screech like a little girl. EWWWWWWWWWW! Spiders!

I'll spare you the gory details of the grisly deaths spiders encounter whenever I see them. All I have to say is thank goodness for a chemical concoction called "Raid"! Hurray! I've emptied more than my fair share of cans and I could care less about the copious amounts ozone hole creating, cancer inducing and genetically mutational agents I might be breathing ...............


You sound just like my wife, Beverly, and one of my daughters, Sandy, AG, and express their sentiments and actions precisely. Smiling nodding !!

............... I wonder how old this guy might be. He is honestly about the biggest and tallest Saguaro I've ever seen. Lovey dubby Let me know what you think ................


Hard to say AG -- different growth rates according to location and substrate. But that is an old-timer for sure, probably 150 years old or more. And, Great photos AG !

James

[Last edited by jamesicus - Jan 26, 2016 1:11 PM (+)]
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Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
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jamesicus
Jan 26, 2016 12:22 PM CST
It simply will not do to have a photo of "Wiley Coyote"' without some of his nemesis -- "The Roadrunner".

It is nice and comforting to have a cheerful companion like him when potting up seedlings in a greenhouse.
A perky Roadrunner is just the ticket. Although a creature of the wild, the one pictured here became quite
tame and comfortable around humans. He used to always show up whenever I was potting up some seedlings.


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Mr. Roadrunner checking out the situation

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And checking out the seedlings

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Ready to help

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Standing guard

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Mission accomplished -- ready to leave


James
Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Garden Art
Plumerias Hibiscus Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Dog Lover Cat Lover
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plantmanager
Jan 26, 2016 12:50 PM CST
I love your roadrunner, James. How nice that he came around to keep you company and wasn't afraid.

I once found a roadrunner that had been shot in one wing and one foot. It had healed badly and he couldn't fly at all and had to hop around on one foot. I read up on making him food. I'd make little meatballs with ground beef, oatmeal, and lots of vitamins and minerals. When he'd come around I'd toss him a meatball and he'd gobble it up. He soon learned to come when I'd call. After we moved away, our neighbor took care of him for many years until one day he didn't come to eat. Sad

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Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
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jamesicus
Jan 26, 2016 1:06 PM CST
plantmanager said:I love your roadrunner, James. How nice that he came around to keep you company and wasn't afraid.

I once found a roadrunner that had been shot in one wing and one foot. It had healed badly and he couldn't fly at all and had to hop around on one foot. I read up on making him food. I'd make little meatballs with ground beef, oatmeal, and lots of vitamins and minerals. When he'd come around I'd toss him a meatball and he'd gobble it up. He soon learned to come when I'd call. After we moved away, our neighbor took care of him for many years until one day he didn't come to eat. :sad ..........


I love that story, Karen, and I appreciate your tender-hearted consideration for our desert animals. Thumbs up

James

[Last edited by jamesicus - Jan 26, 2016 1:14 PM (+)]
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Bromeliad
Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier
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Baja_Costero
Jan 26, 2016 1:45 PM CST
Beep beep! Thumbs up
Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Garden Art
Plumerias Hibiscus Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Dog Lover Cat Lover
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plantmanager
Jan 26, 2016 1:46 PM CST
jamesicus said:

I love that story, Karen, and I appreciate your tender-hearted consideration for our desert animals. Thumbs up

James


Roadrunners are big favorites of mine. We have one that comes by here in NM. We only see him from time to time as he travels by. We have many lizards and they are his favorites.

We would put the injured roadrunner "Roady", up on the fence so he would have a bit of protection from all the neighbor cats.

Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
Image
jamesicus
Jan 26, 2016 2:50 PM CST
The demise of Saguaros in habitat.

It is mostly the giant multi-arm plants that die of natural causes. Some simply die of old age
(depending on the source, estimated to be well over one hundred years old). Because of their bulk
-- thirty foot+ (10 meters+) mature plants with multiple arms weigh several tons (mucho Kilograms)
and are sometimes blown over due to the high winds that often accompany our summer thunderstorms
They then rot away on the ground (it takes a long time). Some plants (young and old) succumb due to
injuries resulting from humans who damage them by shooting guns, arrows, spears (and throwing rocks)
etc. at them. While such behavior is despicable (and unlawful) at any time it is especially harmful
during the rainy season when such wounds often result in the start of fatal rot. Fortunately during
arid conditions (most of the year) the wounds soon heal although the plants are left with unsightly
scars. It is interesting to note that most mature plants in habitat are naturally pock marked by
Woodpeckers who hollow out their nests in the sides of (usually) branch stems (later occupied by pygmy
owls, etc.) -- they only do that in the dry seasons so they do not induce rot -- Nature doesn't miss a trick!

The falling giants come crashing down to the desert floor and soon start to decay. But again, like everything
in Nature, their demise does not result in waste of valuable resources. The decaying vegetative parts provide
nutritious food for a host of lizards, insects and small rodents and the hollow stem interiors become a cozy
dwelling place for their predators -- esp. scorpions, spiders (tarantulas, brown recluse, black widow, et al).
and constrictor snakes (desert king snakes and gopher snakes, etc.). Nothing goes to waste. Eventually all that
remains is a skeleton of "woody ribs". They also do not go to waste, for as they slowly crumble away the smaller
fragments are used by birds and small rodents to build nests, etc. Native American people have used Saguaro ribs
in constructing dwellings (especially roof supports) for countless generations -- now they are quite popular for use
by builders of modern "rustic south-western" homes. Saguaro wood is not very hard but it quickly dulls the edges
of woodworking tools due to the high concentration of silica -- you can see the cut surfaces glinting in bright sunlight.
Some thicker ribs also make great walking sticks.


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Skeleton of fallen giant

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Close-up of Skeleton of fallen Saguaro

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Close-up of ribs of skeletal Saguaro


James

Name: Agavegirl1
South Sonoran Desert (Zone 9b)
"Give me a museum and I'll fill it"
Cactus and Succulents Hummingbirder Butterflies Bee Lover Critters Allowed Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Dog Lover Garden Photography Region: Southwest Gardening Xeriscape
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AgaveGirl1
Jan 26, 2016 2:58 PM CST
What a great story about the road runner! I just love to hear the compassionate stories.

Here's some of the wild life that used to hang out at my former house located very much in the untamed desert . I was lucky enough one time to actually to see the wild horses that roam around on the preserved/Indian owned reservation land. I was even more fortunate to have my camera. Quite thrilled especially with the amount of babies-youngsters in the pictures. Lovey dubby
Thumb of 2016-01-26/AgaveGirl1/7cca26 at home on my back wall


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Thumb of 2016-01-26/AgaveGirl1/e0aecd These were my neighbors! They resided about 100 yards or so from my house and I would bring them and the Jack rabbits carrot and cucumber peels and wilted lettuce to enjoy. Kept them out of my yard and garden! Green Grin!

Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
Garden Procrastinator Region: Colorado Heucheras Region: Southwest Gardening Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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CDsSister
Jan 26, 2016 3:16 PM CST
I love all the pictures of the Dessert flora and fauna. I lived in Tucson for a while in the 80s and fell in love with the desert landscape and the many and varied inhabitants. ( except spiders and scorpians Thumbs down )

Thank you all for posting these great pictures. Thank You!
Name: Gary Simpson
Cannelton, IN (Zone 6b)
aka; smashedcactus
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simcactus
Jan 26, 2016 7:12 PM CST
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No roadrunners or Coyotes here, but I did have a rabbit come visiting my Haworthia a few years back. In the second picture, it was eating the bloom stalk.
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Name: Agavegirl1
South Sonoran Desert (Zone 9b)
"Give me a museum and I'll fill it"
Cactus and Succulents Hummingbirder Butterflies Bee Lover Critters Allowed Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Dog Lover Garden Photography Region: Southwest Gardening Xeriscape
Image
AgaveGirl1
Jan 27, 2016 11:45 AM CST
Looks like a baby Jack rabbit due to absence of cotton tail and long thing front legs in proportion to hind ones. See...carrot and lettuce scraps come in handy. So much more appetizing than your plants (especially when placed as close to the neighbor's yard as possible Big Grin )

Here is one of my favorite plants speaking of neighbor's yards and bunnies! It is hideously painful to get near but gorgeous to look at. I have it listed as Oputina microdasys v. 'funny bunny'. I don't think it is a rare plant but certainly not a real common one either. My neighbor has the only one I've seen in my neighborhood. I've never seen this in the wild either here where I live.






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