Nothing says Arizona like a big ole Saguaro Cactus. Their technical name is Carnegiea gigantea and they are gigantea! These monsters can be 40-60 feet tall and have over 25 arms. It is what I equate most with the desert in Arizona.
I did a lot of driving back and forth between the Phoenix area and Prescott Arizona during the month of June. When you drive from the desert surrounding the Phoenix area to the mile-high city of Prescott you can see the Saguaro disappear as you climb. It is a very pretty drive.
When I lived in the Phoenix area a couple of years ago we had a Saguaro in the back yard. Though they can get quite tall the root system on this plant is quite shallow - only a couple of feet. The roots grow more horizontally than vertically. This helps it cover more area horizontally find water. Though quite shallow the wide root system at it's base helps keep it stable.
You will often see newly planted Saguaro artificially propped up on all sides for several years until the plant can extend it's root system wide enough to ground it.
One day we were watching television during a bit of a monsoon rain storm. The 25 foot cactus in our back yard started swaying back and forth with the wind. Finally, the ground got so sopping wet the roots were loosened and the spire came crashing down. That poor cactus had had it. It was broken, battered and bruised. It was not a very happy camper. The injured carcass had to be disassembled with a chainsaw and carried away one chunk at at time.
I won't soon forget that cactus.
I do like the way they look in the landscape. The older cactus are gnarled and twisted and can provide a home to several desert creatures. When you come across a cactus that has been dead for a while the woody skeletal structure of this giant gets exposed. The plants are really quite fascinating.
This cactus makes an entrance in my blog today because, well, I drew it. have a great day.