Bloomin’ Cactus at Saguaro National Park
As part of a mini-Arizona state park tour, we visited Saguaro National Park (west side). This was our second visit, and I am just so taken with these cacti. They don’t grow in New Mexico, so I have to get my “fix” when we’re in Arizona. We hadn’t planned it, but it turns out we were there when the cacti were blooming – I never knew these particular cacti bloomed! We all learn something new every day, if we’re lucky, and this was a wonderful learning experience.
Before we get to the saguaro, there were a couple of other cacti also in bloom. This one is called a cholla - the thorns on this cactus almost seem magnetic. If you get too close to the plant, the thorns sort of seem to leap off the plant and onto you! Ouch!
Desert Spring Flowers
These blooms can be found on another type of cactus – the prickly pear cactus. I like this image because it sort of starts out as a pinkish bloom and then changes to yellow. The thorns on this cactus are a bit friendlier – it doesn’t jump off the plant at you!
Perched on a Blossom
And, now we move to the start of this blog post – the saguaro cactus! I felt very lucky to have captured this image. This bird (perhaps some sort of mourning dove) just perched on top of the blossoms – the thorns of the cactus would have been too painful.
Blooming on the Side
Here’s a close-up of a saguaro bloom. I was so enchanted by this, as I had never seen one bloom before. Notice how they bloom off the sort of spines on the plant.
Dead Saguaro Bark
I don’t know if the “skin” of the cactus is actually called bark, but that’s what I’m calling it. All good things must come to an end, and when a saguaro cactus dies, this is what the bark looks like – and below, check out what the inside of a dead saguaro cactus looks like…
Standing Dead Saguaro
Three Branched Blooms
A saguaro cactus begins as a sort of tube plant, and doesn’t form “branches” until the cactus is around 50 – 60 years old (they can live to be over 150 years old!). Here’s a cactus that has 3 branches starting and each one of them has blooms on it – how wonderful!