I live in the lower Sonora Desert – the exculsive home of the saguaro cactus. I came upon this one on a hike through Saguaro National Park a few weeks ago. The area was established as a national park by President Herbert Hoover in 1933.
This is a nice specimen because, though it is in the process of dying, it shows both the outer meaty shell and the internal woody rib structure which holds up this mighty cactus. The saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) is the largest cactus in the United States. With most roots only four to six inches under the ground and only one tap-root extending two feet below ground, it’s an amazing feat of engineering which holds up the fifty foot tall, up to six ton plant! The saguaro can live 175 to 200 years. After the cactus has totally died back, the ribs are “recycled” to create fences, arts and crafts projects, roofs, furniture and interesting drop ceiling panels.
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