Saguaro in flowerCristate Saguaro
The mighty Saguaro (Carnegia gigantea) is probably the most stereotypical of all cacti. It is not as big as some of its South American cousins, but its "Cowboy Cactus" reputation has made it famous. These plants grow up to 15m (50 feet) tall, weigh many tons and live for over a hundred years. Their distribution covers a large area of southern Arizona from the Phoenix area south to the Mexican border. The mature specimen pictured left was seen on the Apache Trail a little north east of Phoenix.

Occasionally cristate plants can be seen, such as that pictured right. The photograph was taken in the Organ Pipe National Monument, but similar crests can be found in the Saguaro National Park, the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, the Phoenix Botanical Garden and elsewhere.

Photographs by : John Ellis

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