Why Do Saguaro Cactus Only Grow In Arizona

One of the species that characterizes the Sonoran Desert is the saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea). These plants are huge, tree-like columnar cacti, some of which never sprout arms or branches as they age. There may be over 25 of these arms, which often curve upward. Protective spines cover saguaros, which also have white blooms in the late spring and red fruit in the summer.


Only the Sonoran Desert is home to saguaros. Temperature and water are the two main elements that affect growth. The saguaro can be killed by frost and cold weather if the height is too high. Although both winter and summer rains occur in the Sonoran Desert, it is believed that the Saguaro receives the majority of its moisture during the summer rainy season.


This cactus can be found in western Sonora, Mexico, and southern Arizona. They are more common on the warmer south-facing hills in the northern part of their range. Southeast California is also home to a few stray flora.


Cactus called saguaro grow very slowly. A plant that is 10 years old might only be 1.5 inches tall. Saguaro trees can reach heights of 40 to 60 feet (12-18m). When the saguaro is well-hydrated and there is plenty of rain, it can weigh between 3200 and 4800 pounds.

Quick Facts

The majority of the saguaro plant’s roots are merely 4-6 inches deep and extend outward as far as its height from the plant. One deep root, or tap root, penetrates the ground more than two feet deep.

When a saguaro dies, its woody ribs can be utilized to make furniture, fences, and roofs. Among the dead saguaros are the “saguaro boots,” or holes where birds formerly built their nests. Before the canteen was invented, Native Americans used these as water bottles.

Why only in Arizona do saguaro cacti exist?

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.

Why does Arizona have cactus but not California?

Why do saguaro cacti grow in Arizona but not in Nevada, Mr. Sun? The desert is them. We are the arid land. Why are there not any huge cowboy cacti in Las Vegas?

It would appear that Las Vegas would be a good environment for almost any desert spectacular. Unfortunately, Southern Nevada is not suited for the towering, iconic saguaro, which may grow to 60 feet tall and produce dozens of upward-extending arms.

Native to the Sonoran Desert, which is found in southern Arizona, northern Mexico, and southeastern California, saguaros are pronounced suh-WAR-o.

According to experts, warmth and rainfall are what prevent the desert giants from encroaching into the Mojave. For saguaros to flourish, Las Vegas has a few too many days below freezing. The rain, or lack thereof, is another factor.

Tucson, located in the Sonoran Desert, receives 12 inches of rain on average per year. That’s a decent amount of rain for a desert, and it’s undoubtedly more than Las Vegas, which received less than 3 inches of precipitation in 2017.

Rainfall is significant to saguaros as well. Winter is a dormant season for cacti, therefore summer precipitation is what matters.

According to Doug Larson, horticulture of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, “Saguaros grow in the summers when there is the hotter heat… and the seeds get down in the earth and the summer monsoon rains are germination the next generation.

With an average of more than 2 inches of rain in some areas, July and August are the wettest months in the Sonoran Desert. The wettest months in Las Vegas are from December through March.

The saguaro that awakens in Las Vegas is not doomed as a result of this. A few seem to be surviving as they skulk in nearby landscaping.

Larson expressed the hope that residents of Las Vegas who have them in their landscapes will water them. ” In the summer, once a month should be sufficient.

Are saguaro cactus restricted to the Sonoran Desert?

Carnegiea gigantea, the saguaro cactus, is found only in the Sonoran Desert. They do not, however, grow everywhere in the Sonoran Desert. This map shows the range of the Saguaro cactus with a crosshatched representation of the Sonoran Desert (solid). Freezing conditions throughout the wintertime restrict the saguaro’s range.

Elevation also places restrictions on saguaros. They typically grow between sea level and an elevation of about 4,000 feet. Saguaros that reach heights of more than 4,000 feet are typically found on south-facing slopes where cold temperatures are less common or last less time.

Can you cultivate saguaro cacti in California?

A few scattered populations of this species can be found in the far southeast of California, close to the Arizona/California border, in addition to Arizona and Mexico. Thus, the saguaro cactus can now be included in California’s rich natural flora.

Saguaros can be found in Mexico?

This cactus can be found in western Sonora, Mexico, and southern Arizona. They are more common on the warmer south-facing hills in the northern part of their range. Southeast California is also home to a few stray flora. Saguaro trees are not officially designated as endangered or threatened.

Are saguaro cacti found close to Las Vegas?

Although they are a common and distinctive plant of Arizona, it is thought that there are only a few saguaros in California and one or two in Nevada. Although saguaros don’t naturally grow close to Las Vegas, they are nonetheless employed in landscaping. Look for this species close to the North Las Vegas Airport, the Reid International Airport, flood control basins, and other urban areas.





All distances, altitudes, and other information are rounded. The USDA database is often followed by names. current as of 211218

Cacti exist in Las Vegas?

Description: Pricklypear A class of cactus of the genus Opuntia with broad, pad-like stems is known as a cactus. Pricklypears are sometimes an abundant or dominant part of the vegetation community, especially in areas where animals overgraze the land and steer clear of the spiky pads. Although some species of prickly pear can be found in the higher life zones, prickly pear are typically found in the Lower Sonoran (Creosote-Bursage Flats) and Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) life zones. Around Las Vegas, several species can be found.

Spreading or upright plants. flat, oval to circular, and succulent pads. To create short, erect stems, pads either sprout from the soil or from other pads.

Distribution: The southern deserts are home to a number of different species.

Neotoma lepida, sometimes known as desert woodrats, consumes the pads while frequently avoiding the spines. The pads will be consumed by cattle if the spines are burnt off. The tasty, purple fruit in the shape of a pear and the black seeds are consumed by numerous wildlife species and locals.

Cactus with a tail (Opuntia basilaris). Large (5-7 in.) pads devoid of visible spines. Even the Beavertail Cactus appear to be spineless, taking up a loose pad will quickly make you realize your error. They have minuscule, hair-like spines that are both annoying and challenging to get rid of.

Mountain Pricklypear of Charleston (Opuntia charlestonensis). Only in the Canadian (Pine-Fir Forest) life zone of the Spring Mountains does this rare species inhabit forests at higher altitudes (approximately 8,000 ft).

The low-growing Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha) has broad, thin stem segments (pads). The pricklypear’s pads are of a modest size (to about 5-inches long by 3-inches wide). The spines are grouped, up to three inches long, and straight. At the base of the pad, there are frequently no spines.

Low-growing Opuntia polyacantha var. hystricina, sometimes known as the Porcupine Pricklypear, has broad, thin stem segments (pads). The pricklypear’s pads are of a modest size (to about 5-inches long by 3-inches wide). The spines are grouped, long (up to 4-5 inches), straight, and typically dark in color (brown to black).

This is mostly a Utah variety, with a range that extends south along the border region between Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. A tongue of population also extends into east-central Nevada.

Polar Bear Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. erinacea). tiny pads (3-4 inches). Spine length varies, but they are typically quite long (up to 6 in. ), flexible, and flowing, giving the appearance of long gray hairs.

Flat Prickly Pear (Opuntia chlorotica). Large, rounded pads that are very broad. grows upright and tree-like, with a broad “trunk” and pricklypear-pad-covered branches. The spines are thick, and the pads are virtually rounded.

a spreading cactus with flat stem segments that grows slowly (pads). The spines are typically restricted to the upper 70% of the pads, which are relatively long and broad. At the base of each pad, areoles without spines may be observed. Areoles, where the spines originate, are typically spaced approximately 3/4 inches apart. Longer spines are often flattened and gray with a reddish base near the top of the pad, while shorter spines are completely gray. On the side of the pads, there are no glochids. Yellow flowers with a red base to the petals are common. Fruit has a green inside and is a fleshy “cactus apple.”

All distances, altitudes, and other information are rounded. The USDA database is often followed by names. current as of 211219

In Arizona, is it against the law to take a dead saguaro cactus?

Keep in mind that someone owns or controls the open land in Arizona. Before visiting any land to remove natural resources, be sure you have written permission in your possession. Once more, the Arizona native plant statute does not provide protection for cactus skeletons or any other dead plant or plant parts.

Do saguaro cacti grow in Argentina?

An alternative to the native saguaro that grows quickly is the Argentine saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea). On warm summer evenings, many, white blossoms proliferate along the stems and remain there for the majority of the next day. Particularly as the sun sets behind them, the lovely golden spines seem to shine. This prickly giant will eventually reach a height of up to 25 feet and have several limbs. Argentine saguaro is more tolerant of water than many other cactus species, but it also tolerates drought and poor soils. However, growth will be even more rapid in areas with rich soil and good fertilizer. Plant it alongside other low-water options like blackfoot daisy, fairy duster, and palo verde. Dimensions: 1525 feet ; 68 feet wide White is the bloom color Flowers bloom in the spring and summer. USDA zone minimum: 8. 18 F for cold hardiness