Only a few hardy species of opuntia and escobaria are present in almost every US state and southern Canadian province, although they are much more common in the southwest’s arid areas. Cacti are prevalent in six US states, including (roughly) the following: Arizona (83), California (35), New Mexico (56), Nevada (26), Utah (34) and Texas (91).
The Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Mojave deserts correspond to the lower elevations and southernmost places where the densest populations can be found. The hottest part of the Sonoran Desert in southeast California and southwest Arizona also has a relatively small number of species for the same reason. The best places to see cacti are south and southeast Arizona, south New Mexico, and far west Texas, especially in the Big Bend region. Of these three, the Mojave has somewhat fewer species due to its low rainfall.
The golden cereus, Munz’s cholla, coastal cholla, chaparral prickly pear, and San Diego barrel cactus are just a few of the rare cactus species that grow in California’s far southwest, close to San Diego, and down the coast into Santa Barbara. These can be seen in locations like Torrey Pines State Reserve, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, and Cabrillo National Monument, but the majority of California species are found in the southeasterly deserts, specifically in Mojave, Anza Borrego, Death Valley, and Joshua Tree National Parks. Joshua Tree is particularly fruitful because it is located on the border of the Sonoran and Mojave deserts, and as a result, has plants typical of both.
Arizona has two National Park Service (NPS) locations dedicated to particular cacti: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in the far south, bordering Mexico, and Saguaro National Park on either side of Tucson. With approximately 30 species, some of which are fairly rare (like senita), this latter area is one of the best cactus places in the entire state. Other cactus-filled desert preserves include Kofa NWR, Sonoran Desert National Monument, Cabeza Prieta NWR, Ironwood Forest National Monument, and Agua Fria National Monument. Several small state parks, like Catalina, Sabino Canyon, Lost Dutchman, and Alamo Lake, also provide an excellent introduction to the local flora. The region in the far southeast between Nogales and the Chiricahua Mountains, which is where certain plants from the adjacent Chihuahuan Desert may be seen, as well as some that are significantly more frequent over the border in Mexico, has the most uncommon species, except from Organ Pipe NM. Cacti, however, are abundant throughout the state; for instance, the Canyon De Chelly National Monument is home to 12 different species. A few areas in the north also contain some extremely rare species, such as the pediocactus bradyii in the Marble Canyon region and the sclerocactus sileri on the Kaibab Plateau. Visit a botanical garden, like the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior or the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum west of Tucson, if you want to observe a wide variety of plant species all in one spot.
Around 20 different varieties of cacti can be found in Nevada’s far south, on the edge of the Mojave Desert. These include the hills that border Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, the foothills of Mount Charleston, and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The most prominent species are the Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus, California barrel cactus, many headed barrel, five different varieties of cholla, and several opuntia. The Great Basin Desert covers the rest of the state, which has fewer cacti but still contains a few very unusual species (sclerocactus).
The majority of the state of Utah is covered in cacti, including the Colorado Plateau, the Uinta Basin in the northeast, and low-lying areas of the southwest (on the edge of the Mojave Desert). The well-known national parks (Arches, Capital Reef, Zion, and Canyonlands) are each home to more than a dozen species, and Utah contains about six forms of cactus that are unique to the US. However, there is no one optimum spot (sclerocactus and pediocactus species).
Over 50 cactus species can be found in the Chihuahuan Desert, which makes up the southern third of New Mexico. These species can be found in places like Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, the Carlsbad Caverns National Park backcountry, and (in a botanical garden setting) Living Desert State Park in Carlsbad.
With around 100 different cactus species, Texas is the state with the most. The majority are found along the Rio Grande, close to the Mexican border, particularly in the Big Bend region, in Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. In particular, the species of coryphantha, echinomastus, and escobaria are at their northernmost ranges on this terrain. In the far south, in the area of Brownsville, there is another cluster of rare species. Cacti can also be found in the Davis Mountains/Fort Davis, Guadalupe Mountains, and Black Gap WMA in the Chihuahuan Desert.
What species of cactus grows in Arizona?
Cactus Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea)
The saguaro cactus, which “the American West, pronounced sah-wah-roh. We constantly encounter images of these cacti as a representation of the American Desert. Without looking closely at one of these well-known desert plants, a vacation to the Sonoran Desert is not complete. Almost everyone who has seen one has been captivated by these enormous green columnar cactuses. Even more significant to the native Tohono O’Odham are the saguaro cacti. The Tohono O’Odham see the huge cacti as revered tribe members rather than as plants. They see them as a distinct kind of humanity.
Although the saguaro cactus has come to represent the American West, it can only be found in the Sonoran desert. The saguaro cactus’s geographic range is constrained to southern Arizona since it is a desert indicator species. From sea level to an elevation of around 4000 feet, saguaro cacti can thrive. The saguaro cactus will limit its growth to the warmer, south-facing slopes the further north and higher in elevation you go. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is home to a large number of saguaro cacti. Impressive “The Ajo Mountain Drive passes through saguaro woods.
The saguaro cactus, which can grow up to 40 feet tall, is the biggest cactus in the country. Over 78 feet high, the tallest saguaro cactus ever measured stood. All of the saguaro cactus’ growth takes place at the tip, or top, of the cactus, which grows like a column at a very slow rate. A saguaro cactus may take ten years to grow just an inch tall. A saguaro cactus can grow to a height of 6 and a half feet and begin to bear flowers at the age of 70. A saguaro cactus can grow to a height of 15 to 16 feet and begin to sprout its first arm by the time it is 95 to 100 years old. The saguaro cactus reaches its maximum height of up to 45 feet tall when it is 200 years old. While some saguaros develop dozens of arms, other cacti never produce even one. One of the unsolved mysteries of the desert is why this occurs.
The saguaro cactus is an expert at surviving in the desert. This plant was created from the ground up to survive in the sometimes hostile Sonoran Desert. The saguaro cactus’ epidermis is covered in a thick layer of waxy material that prevents water loss through transpiration and waterproofs the plant. To protect the water that is kept inside, the cactus has bristles that are both flexible and have sharp spines.
A saguaro cactus has an equally remarkable root system. The cactus will grow a sizable, solitary taproot that will extend straight down into the ground for around five feet. The cactus can get water that is kept underground thanks to this taproot. The saguaro cactus’ primary roots differ greatly from other cacti. A huge network of roots that resemble a maze is sent out by the cactus quite near to the surface. These roots are typically 3 inches or less below the surface, allowing the cactus to easily catch any rain that may fall.
Instantaneously, very little water is used. Instead, the majority of the water collected is eventually stored within the cactus for use during dry spells. A tissue that resembles a sponge fills the interior of the cactus and serves as a reservoir for the water. The cactus’ skin starts to grow as more water is stored, providing additional space for storage. When a result, as more and more water is stored, the saguaro cactus can get rather hefty. A Saguaro cactus foot can weigh up to 90 pounds when fully grown, and a whole Saguaro can weigh over a ton.
The saguaro cactus blooms from late spring to early summer. The flowering typically takes place between April and June. The milky-white blossoms give forth a sweet nectar that draws a variety of bat species. These bats consume flower nectar while also helping to pollinate the saguaro cactus. The bats will begin to devour the cactus fruit when it begins to produce fruit, which will help disperse saguaro seeds over the desert.
What cactus grows most frequently in Arizona?
In Tucson, Arizona, and Saguaro National Park, the most prevalent cacti species are:
- Aztec Flowers. NPS Image.
- Container cactus.
- the cholla staghorn.
- full-blooming hedgehog cactus Echinocereus fendleri var. pinkflower hedgehog cactus
- Flowers of prickly pears.
- The flower and bear cholla.
- Flowering chainfruit cholla.
How many different types of cacti exist?
Cactus, often known as cacti or cactuses, belongs to the order Caryophyllales and is a family of flowering plants with about 2,000 species and 139 genera. From British Columbia and Alberta southward, cacti are native to most of North and South America; the southernmost portion of their distribution reaches deep into Chile and Argentina. The highest number and variety of species are found in Mexico. The only cactus that might be native to the Old World are Rhipsalis species, which are found in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and East Africa. Few cactus species exist in tropical or subtropical climes, although the majority do and are well adapted to dry conditions. List of Cactaceae plants is also available.
What number of cactus species can you count in the Sonoran Desert?
Only roses and orchids enjoy greater recognition among gardeners and plant collectors than cacti. There are hordes of admirers in the eastern United States, Europe, and Japan, demonstrating how popular they are outside of their natural home. Numerous specialist nurseries are fueled by the desire to own these unusual but stunning plants; the biggest stores produce and sell millions of plants each year. One of the reasons people travel to the American southwest are cacti.
Description of Family
When they see a cactus, most people assume they know what it is, yet this is frequently false. All succulents are succulents, but not all cacti are succulents. Some of the swollen or spiky plants that are sometimes mistaken for cacti are agaves, ocotillos, aloes, and the succulent euphorbias (such as African milk trees). Cactus, on the other hand, refers to a certain plant family distinguished by a unique floral design. The flowering plant must have several intergraded tepals (combined sepals and petals), numerous stamens (typically hundreds), and numerous stigma lobes in order to be classified as a cactus (rarely only three). A plant cannot be a cactus if it doesn’t have one of these flowers.
Nearly all of the New World, from southern Canada to southern South America, is home to members of the cactus family. One of the 1800 species is an exception; it naturally exists in Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and Africa. In certain parts of the Old World, however, introduced cacti have gone berserk and occasionally turned into pests. Cacti are most prevalent (both in terms of species and plant numbers) in semiarid settings with scant precipitation but regular wet seasons. A few species can be found in wet tropical forests and severely dry deserts. The Sonoran Desert region is home to about 300 different species.
Numerous species of bees, some of which are cactus-specific, pollinate the majority of cactus species. Although all cactus bee species are solitary, some of them gather in large numbers at nesting locations to build their individual nest tunnels, which are closely packed together over a few thousand square feet. These burrows are filled with cactus pollen to feed the grubs, which the parents do not tend. Certain cacti are fertilized by bats, moths, or birds.
What cactus is the oldest?
The saguaro cactus, which is the oldest known cactus ever in the world, was nearly 300 years old when it began to die in the 1990s. In addition to being ancient, Old Granddaddy was also a behemoth with over 40 feet in height and 52 arms right before it passed away.
Old Granddaddy’s location in Saguaro National Park revealed that the cactus there had bacterial necrosis, a condition that usually affects older cacti. The illness turned the cactus brown and made Old Granddaddy decay. The arms of Old Grandpa also disintegrated. It was one of the most popular and frequently photographed cacti in Saguaro National Park before Old Granddaddy passed away.