Saguaros are the giant, classicly shaped cacti that characterise the deserts of Arizona and Mexico. They absorb and store huge amounts of water after the summer rains, which can increase the weight of a large speciment by 750-900kg. The stored water enables the saguaro to flower every year, even if the rainfall has been lower than average. They are pollinated by bats, birds and bees, with the seeds dispersed by birds that eat the juicy, red fruits.
Did you know?
It can take a saguaro cactus over 75 years to develop a side arm.
Scientific name: Carnegiea gigantea
It takes a hundred years to grow a desert giant.
White doves, foraging ants, hungry tortoises - they all help in the prickly business of dispersing the seeds of the saguaro cactus. Which is just as well, since the chances of a seed growing into a fully-grown 10-metre-tall cactus are many, many millions to one.
Time-lapse reveals the life-giving power of these giant desert sentinels.
As seasonal rains transform the desert into a green oasis, the world's largest cactus puts on a spectacular nocturnal display. Long nights of patient waiting finally resulted in shots of the unfurling energy-rich flowers against a starry backdrop. Sequences were filmed at the exact location months apart, using specialist tracking time-lapse, to show the full extent of the swelling.
The Saguaros can be found in a number of locations including: North America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.
The following habitats are found across the Saguaros distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
The saguaro (/səˈwɑroʊ/; scientific name Carnegiea gigantea) is an arborescent (tree-like) cactus species in the monotypic genus Carnegiea, which can grow to be over 20 meters (~70 ft) tall. It is native to the Sonoran Desert in the U.S. state of 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.
The common name saguaro came into the English language through the Spanish language, originating in the Mayo language.
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