Tucson By Choice!: Icon of the Desert: The Giant Saguaro Cactus

Icon of the Desert: The Giant Saguaro Cactus

Saguaro fruit, Tucson, AZ by Mike in Tucson

Saguaro fruit, Tucson, AZ by Mike in TucsonGiant Saguaro Cactus at sunset, by Mike in Tucson2,000 of those tiny seeds, when dried out, will easily fit into the cap of your canteen.  Oh.  You're not from the desert southwest, and you don't have a canteen.  Okay.  They'll fit into the plastic cap of your G-2 sport drink bottle.

Either way, what you're looking at there in my grand-daughter's gloved hand is the ripe fruit of the Giant Saguaro Cactus. 

It's food to every desert-dwelling creature creative (or lucky) enough to get some.

White winged doves perch on the top of the cacti, gorging themselves on the seeds.  In the process, some get dislodged, and fall to the desert floor, where everything from the smallest mouse to coyotes consider it a delicacy.

Ancestral Indians considered the fruit a delicacy too, and harvested it using long poles created from the dead ribs of fallen Giant Saguaros.

Now you know.

 

If you haven't been to Tucson yet, come visit soon.

If you have, we look forward to seeing you again!

 ___________________

I'm Mike in Tucson, your preferred Tucson, AZ Mortgage lender.
Mike Jones (Tucson Mortgage Company, LLC): Loan Officer in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE
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Comment balloon 31 commentsMike Jones • July 28 2009 12:17AM

Comments

Hi Mike!
That is cool beyond words! Thanks for the history lesson...and the vivid experience!

Posted by Paula Swayne, Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga (Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715) about 9 years ago

Mike, I've seen the birds perched on top of the saguaro but never saw inside the flower.  I know exactly why you are wearing the leather glove.

Posted by Sun City Grand Homes Surprise AZ Real Estate Leolinda Bowers Designated Broker Leolinda Realty, Sun City Grand in Surprise Arizona (Leolinda Realty) about 9 years ago

I learn something new every day...so much for that 'old dogs, new tricks' thing, huh?  :) 

Posted by Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired (Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®) about 9 years ago

Mike, Interesting post. Yes, those cacti are interesting plants...

Helping you live your American Dream... 

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) about 9 years ago

I love those majestic plants.  I still remember the awe I felt when, on a trip to Phoenix, I saw the Saguaro Cactus for the first time. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Lenn,

They're my favorite desert plant, and the predominant "tree" of the Arizona-Sonoran desert.

Michael,

Isn't it amazing that something weighing tons starts life as a seed about the size of the dot under the question mark at the end of this sentence?

Jesse,

You're doing all right for a "young dog."  :)

Leolinda,

The inside of the fruit is pretty amazing, isn't it!

Paula,

You're welcome!  Thanks for being the first to comment.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 9 years ago

Mike,

I love the Saguaro shot!

Buy your Grand daughter her own gloves!

Bill

Posted by William J. Archambault, Jr. (The Real Estate Investment Institute ) about 9 years ago

Morning Mike I see you had a little helper along....now one question how do those seeds taste?

Posted by Cynthia Bartch, Redesigned Spaces; All Round Nice Gal (Home Stager/Property Stylist & more! Granville, Ohio) about 9 years ago

yes, Cynthia posted my question! how do they taste?

Posted by Janie Coffey, Uniting Extraordinary Homes w/ Extraordinary Lives (First Coast Sotheby’s International Realty) about 9 years ago

Janie & Cynthia,

The truth is, I don't know!

Bill,

She likes to wear Grandpa's gloves.  Go figure.  :)

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 9 years ago

My question is where did you plant the seeds. I'm sure you have a Saguaro farm somewhere.

Posted by Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc (Benchmark Realty LLc) about 9 years ago

Do they grow anywhere outside of Arizona? I've never seen this type before.

Posted by Darrell Walters (W. Darrell Walters) about 9 years ago

Mike, love the photo. I assume your granddaughter is wearing gloves because it's a cactus and she needs them. Great picture. You put it in your canteen because it tastes so good? Thank you again for your call yesterday. I appreciate your help!

Posted by Connie Harvey, Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate (Pilkerton Realtors) about 9 years ago

Mike, That picture of the sunset and cactua is incredible.  I haven't yet been to Tucson but have been to Arizona and loved it!  Those cactus are a magnificent sight!

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) about 9 years ago

Gorgeous photos. Being from the Pacific Northwest, we rarely see a cactus, much less any of the size you have there in AZ. So, what's the story I remember about drinking cactus juice of eating cactus....? Something about it being mind alterning? LOL..or is that all fictional?

 

Posted by Colleen Fischesser Northwest Property Shop, A Tradition of Trust in the Pacific NW since 1990! (RE/MAX Advantage | Managing Broker) about 9 years ago

Coleen,

It's not fictional.  Peyote is what you're thinking about.  You'll find the answer on Wikipedia; thanks for commenting.

Carole,

It's something you'll want to add to the bucket list!

Connie,

We were hiking, and we wear gloves when hiking because most things in the desert stick you, sting you or (sometimes) try to bite you!

IMF,

Saguaro cacti grow in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.  That's it.  Nowhere else on earth.

Larry,

Looking at the surrounding mountains from my backyard, trying to count the saguaros I can see is like trying to count the stars at night.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 9 years ago

They are very majestic when you see them in person. Didn't know that flower/seed ball was so big.  Thanks for the pics so I know better.

 

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) about 9 years ago

I have never seen a cactus flower.  Very interesting, once in a lifetime viewing... 

Posted by Diane Daley (Caron's Gateway Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Mike, at first I thought that was your gloved hand until I noticed the pink shoe laces below. :) Beautiful picture. Kate

Posted by Kate Kate about 9 years ago

Kate,

My little grand daughter is 10, and she's been visiting Arizona since she was 18 months.

Caron,

That's the fruit; the flower is white.  I'll see if I can find a photo to upload for you.

Lyn,

Ditto my comment to Caron; I'll see what I can find in my photo morgue.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 9 years ago

Mike,

Thank you for sharing this information on the cactus and how it is food for the dwellers.

Posted by Don Rogers, Realtor, Broker, CDPE, GRI, OnullFallon MO & St Charles County MO homes (Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield) about 9 years ago

Those seeds remind me of pomegranate seeds.  Wonder if they taste the same?

Posted by Rita Bradley, Valuation Consultant in Orange County California 949-916-3263 about 9 years ago

Isn't it amazing that something so imposing can produce something that appears so delicate?  But the Saguaro is beautiful in its own way, that's for sure.  Thanks for the look at your desert!  :)

Posted by Carol Smith (Casmi Photography) about 9 years ago

Mike,

Another phenomenal post and picture...!!! Thanks,   Fran

Posted by Fran Gaspari, "The Title Man" - Title Insurance - PA & NJ (Patriot Land Transfer, Inc.) about 9 years ago

I've never seen the flower or the fruit before. Thanks for the photo and info.

Posted by Terry & Bonnie Westbrook, Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re (Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner) about 9 years ago

Mike, how interesting! So, the fruit opens up spontaneously and releases the seeds?

Posted by Maria Morton, Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758 (Chartwell Kansas City Realty) about 9 years ago

Saguaro blossom detail by Mike in TucsonMaria,

Exactly.  The flowers open in late May, and they're white and waxy-looking, with a yellow center.  (It's the Arizona state flower.)  They're pollinated by bats at night, drinking the nectar.  The fruit forms as a pod, which opens as you see it above when the fruit is ripe and the seeds are mature.

Terry,

You're welcome!

Fran,

Thanks for stopping by.

Carol,

It really is majestic and imposing.  The largest are 50' tall, and weigh many tons.

Rita,

I don't know if they taste like pomegranate, but I'm going to google it, and see what others say about the taste.

Don,

Thanks for commenting, my friend!

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 9 years ago

To me, the saguaro is one of the marvels of nature!  I am interested in seeing what the fruit tastes like also!  One of my favorite cactus fruits is prickly pear extract.  Put a couple of drops in a margarita and YUM!

Posted by Renée Donohue, Las Vegas Real Estate Broker - www.urLVhome.com (Savvy Home Strategies Realty, LLC-REALTOR®-Estate-Probate) about 9 years ago

Renee,

When you press your finger against the skin of the saguaro, it gives.  It's sort of like the skin of a watermelon, except for the vertical rows of thorns.  Prickly pear is delicious!

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 9 years ago

We love the saguaros -- you have many more than we do.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) about 9 years ago

Mike you take great pictures. I need a camera.

Posted by Michael Rohde (Sunstreet Mortgage LLC. Licensed Mortgage Professional) about 9 years ago

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