saguaro cactus Cactaceae Carnegiea
gigantea (Engelm.) Britton & Rose symbol: CAGI10
Leaf: Reduced to a spine, 2 inches, displayed in vertical rows along the bark ridges, areole clusters of 10-25 spines.
Flower: Attractive, borne on the branch tips in rings, white with a yellow center, 2 inches across, blooming at night during May and June, persisting for less than 24 hours.
Fruit: A cylindrical berry, 2-3 inches, green to red, splitting open when ripe (June and July) to disperse the small (1/10 inch) black seeds; inner lining of the fruit bright red.
Bark: A green, leathery thick skin with prominent vertical ridges; ridges are covered with spine clusters.
Form: Massive, to 50 feet, column-like, with one main trunk and a few ascending branches; a distinctive symbol of the desert. "Arms" begin to grow when the cactus reaches 15 feet / 75 years old.
Looks like: cardón
Additional Range Information: Carnegiea gigantea is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting saguaro cactus.
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson