December 27, 2012. Saguaro National Park, West. This is an interesting national park in that there are two sections, one to the west of Tucson, one to the east. I found them to be the same and yet different. My take, was that the saguaro in the west portion of the park were tall and had less "arms". That said, you will see photos of multi-armed saguaros in this post. So, you will have to believe me on this. LOL
There is a article on the saguaro on Wikipedia, which states the saguaro can grow to over 70 feet in height. The article claims they must be 75 years old to grow an arm, I have heard other time frames, but, needless to say, they don't get to this size quickly. There is a very interesting article here about the park and the saguaro. The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum also has a great page of facts on the saguaro, including the fact that "A 10 year old plant might only be 1.5 inches tall".
According to this web page:
"To the native Tohono O’odham people, the saguaro cactus is considered an honored relative that sustains them both spiritually and physically."
(The page has more interesting information, but, reluctant to challenge the fair use gods, I will just have to let you roam over there yourselves, have a read and then come back to Reflections.)
This large saguaro specimen is actually outside the park, not all arms grow up, some almost seem to embrace you. (Note the blue skies.)
In the park, everywhere you look, more and more saguaros. (Note, the skies are not blue any more, they are heavy and rain laden.)
Skies blue again, as we moved around the park, conditions changes. This is a large specimen, multi-armed.
Considering how slow these plants grow, this one is rather amazing.
A fishhook barrel cactus spent bloom.
This is the end of a saguaro arm, any blooms will be here at the end. Because this plant had a low sweeping arm, we can see what is usually found at the "top".
And, this is what a jumping cholla can do to you, jump on and stay put. Hint, a comb will "brush" them off.