Why Do Cacti Have Arms

Why do cacti have arms?

One of our go-to Office Yoga poses is this one. It’s simple, efficient, and anyone can do it, which is why we adore it so much! Test it out for yourself:

  • With your legs hip distance apart, stand or sit in your chair.
  • With your elbows bent at 90 degrees and your chin parallel to the floor, extend your arms out to the side.
  • Feel the chest enlarge by tightening the shoulder blades.
  • Hold for five to ten breaths.

Energy advantages: opens the heart center, facilitating improved interpersonal connections and communication.

Enjoy this posture? Try our Power Pose sequence for the same physical and energetic advantages.

Why are some cacti larger than others in terms of arm count?

When our beloved desert plants recently developed green buds that later gave birth to creamy white blossoms, all eyes were on the saguaros.

Don Swann, a scientist at Saguaro National Park since 1993, claims, “I’ve been looking at saguaros for a long time and I never grow weary of it.” “As someone who studies saguaros and collaborates with scientists, I’m constantly amazed by how much we still don’t know about this plant, the Sonoran Desert, and the natural world in general.”

Since we’ve been gazing at saguaros for so long now and have seen how distinctively different each one is, we wanted to know more about how and why they develop in the manner that they do.

Here are some intriguing facts about our enormous neighbors in case you’re interested in learning more about these amazing plants.

What they use their arms for

“Saguaros develop flowers at the top of their stalks, so if you have a single saguaro stem they’ll produce flowers there. Flowers turn into fruits and produce seeds. If a saguaro is performing well, it can grow arms that will let it to produce more flowers and consequently more seeds at the tips of each arm.

According to Swann, saguaros typically take a very long time to reach full maturity and can begin to produce blossoms as early as 35 years of age, though it’s more likely to happen in the 60s.

Although they take a while to begin flowering, they can continue doing so until they reach an advanced age of 150 to 200 years.

More arms mean a happier saguaro

In addition, if a saguaro sprouts an arm at all, it takes a long time for it to do so.

Swann asserts that although there is no hard and fast rule and every situation is unique, typically speaking, people start developing arms around the age of 75.

Since water is their main resource in the desert, Swann claims that they tend to grow more arms where there is more moisture. “As you hike around, you’ll note that, for instance, there are typically more arms on saguaros that are close to washes. So in essence, they will grow more arms if the circumstances are good and they can direct that energy into reproduction (i.e., if they receive the necessary amount of water to survive).”

This is also the reason why saguaros in Saguaro National Park East, which tends to receive more precipitation than their counterparts in Saguaro National Park West, which is in the Tucson Mountains, grow more quickly.

“Saguaro growth is inversely proportional to rainfall, especially in the summer. They will therefore develop more quickly in wet years than they do in dry years “Says Swann.

According to him, a saguaro growing in the east district may be 4 inches higher than a saguaro growing in the west district at the age of 20.

But flowers are different

According to Swann, “you also tend to have more flowers when it’s warmer outside.” “The blooms typically bloom later in years with more rain. And oddly, we see fewer blooms when it rains more. However, these warmer temperatures and drier winters seem to be increasing how early the saguaros bloom and how many blooms we get. It is unclear exactly why you get fewer flowers when you have more rain.”

However, cactus specialists noted that the quantity of saguaro flowers in 2022 was below usual. Click here to learn more about that.