Carnegiea gigantea Cactaceae
Saguaro kar-ne-GEE-a gi-gan-TEE-a
- A cactus of columnar to tree-like form, grows slowly to 50 ft (15 m) tall, with a diameter of a much as 30 inches (75 cm). The main stem/trunk is simple with one to five or more lateral, erect branches, both have many prominent ribs, armed with dense, stout spines that are up to 7 cm long. Flowers white, single, 9-13 cm long, occurring at the ends of branches, opening at night. Fruit oblong, about 6 x 3 cm, red or red-green, scaly, splitting irregularly, revealing red pulp, edible.
- Sun and well-drained soil. No additional water required once established. It has a deep anchoring taproot to 1 m and extensive lateral roots.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 9 Native range extends throughout most of the Sonora Desert in Arizona, California, and Mexico. From the Hualapait Mountains in Arizona and along the
Colorado River in southeastern California, and southward into Mexico; mostly below 3,500 ft (1,067 m).
- gigantea: very large
- The State Flower of Arizona.