Hey! Who’s really important here?

Posted: April 18, 2023 in Nature
Tags: , , , , , , ,

When all those flowers are gone, we’ll still be here. (If you’ve seen “The Three Amigos”, your mind is saying “I’m still here, El Guaopo.” 🙂 But I digress.

Ask what sort of plants grow in the desert and “cactus” will likely be the first answer for almost everyone. Cacti have been designed specifically to thrive in an environment where water is at a premium, heat at a maximum. The saguaro is the iconic cactus despite only growing in the Sonoran desert between sea level and 4,000 ft. Above that they’ll only grow on the southern, sunny side of a slope.

How best to capture and use water when there is so little? A long taproot and a plethora of wide-spreading roots just belowe the surface enable the saguaro to tap (pun intended) water well below the surface as well as whatever water just begins to soak into the ground. A thick waxy coating and hard spines prevent water loss and as the cactus accumulates water, the outside expands to store more and more water. That means a full cactus might weigh as much as a ton.

Some saguaro have many arms, others have none. Saguaro serve as favorite apartment buildings for birds and in spring and early summer are topped with beautiful white flowers. It’s not easy to get photos of them, though, because flowers are so high above a standing person. But don’t mess with a saguaro! Besides it being a class-four felony to cut one down, at least one saguaro has been know to take its own revenge:

In 1982, a man was killed after damaging a saguaro. David Grundman was shooting and poking at a saguaro cactus in an effort to make it fall. An arm of the cactus, weighing 230 kg (500 lb), fell onto him, crushing him and his car. The trunk of the cactus then also fell on him. The Austin Lounge Lizards wrote the song “Saguaro” about this death. ~Wikipedia

Remember that teddy bear cholla are NOT cuddly, despite their appealing name. The silvery spines are actually leaves but rather deadly ones Don’t cuddle with this teddy!

The prickly pear (focus on the prickly part) have long spines and fruit that is eaten in many countries and cultures. We had prickly pear lemonade once, the fruit giving it a beautiful deep pink color.

  1. Sheree says:

    Beautiful cacti

  2. Sue says:

    I like the burst of small yellow flowers in amongst the cacti

  3. And, I have trouble with the thorns on rose bushes. 🙂

  4. Those are lovely images of the cacti and flowers, Janet!

  5. bushboy says:

    Quite fabulous Janet 🙂

  6. eklastic says:

    You’re sure those cacti aren’t giving you the finger? 😆

  7. Nancy says:

    I enjoy it when people share their love of our desert with others. Thanks for the knowledge. The yellow flowers between the cacti are a treat this time of year. Have a wonderful Tuesday.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Nancy. The desert, its plants and animals, are fascinating. I have so much to learn. 🙂 Hope your day’s gone well.

  8. tootlepedal says:

    I will look at cactus with new respect.

  9. DeWetsWild says:

    Killed by a cactus! Serves him right! 😀

  10. […] tea but I have found what I like in bags. I know some folks will cringe to read that (like maybe Janet–  ha – and FYI – here is her interesting post about Irish Breakfast […]

  11. […] but I have found what I like in bags. I know some folks will cringe to read that (like maybe Janet–  ha – and FYI – here is her interesting post about Irish Breakfast […]

  12. Wind Kisses says:

    I love our desert too. This was a nice lesson for others unfamiliar with our area.

    • Saguaros are amazing and I thought it would be fun to share that. I never want one to fall on me, that’s for sure. That guy was a Darwin Award winner. 🤣🤣🤣

  13. Prior... says:

    mmm- that lemonade sounds so good
    and enjoyed your wonderful photos and how sad the man was crushed by the cactus – and I will check out the Austin Lounge Lizards wrote song “Saguaro”

  14. Prior... says:

    Oh the song is soooooo cool