In Tucson, many people put Christmas lights on saguaro cacti (pronounced ‘sah-wah-roh’). Saguaros are found exclusively in the Sonoran Desert. [The Sonoran Desert straddles part of the United States-Mexico border and covers large parts of the U.S. states of Arizona and California and the northwest Mexican states of Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur.]
Saguaros, the largest cacti in the United States, are very slow growing. A ten-year-old plant might only be 1.5 inches tall. Saguaro can grow to be between 40-60 feet tall. When rain is plentiful and the saguaro is fully hydrated it can weigh between 3200-4800 pounds.
This cactus is one of many desert cacti that put out both flowers and fruit; the saguaro flower is the state flower of Arizona. But the saguaro doesn’t produce its first flower until it is about 50 years old! The white blossoms open only at night, last less than 24 hours and are pollinated by moths and bats.
Our favorite kind of saguaro is called the crestate saguaro. It is a mutation that occurs in one of every 200,000 saguaros.
At Christmas, we love to drive around at night and see all the beautiful lighted saguaros.