The saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) is an arborescent (tree-like) cactus species in the monotypic genus Carnegiea, which grows to be over 40 feet (12 m) tall. It is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, the Mexican State of Sonora, and the Whipple Mountains. Also Imperial County areas of California. The saguaro blossom is the state wildflower of Arizona.
Its scientific name is given in honor of Andrew Carnegie. In 1994, Saguaro National Park, near Tucson, Arizona, was designated to help protect this species and its habitat.
This plant is primarily found in the Sonoran Colorado Desert of southeastern California, and the Sonoran Deserts of southern Arizona and of northwestern Sonora state (Mexico). It is found predominantly in desert washes, a result of its need for water, although occasionally it can be found in creosote desert scrub habitat, accessing seeps in desert hills up to 3,600 feet (1,100 m).
Also found in the far eastern Mojave Desert of California in the northern Lower Colorado River Valley, and occasionally in the Mojave’s mountains.
Palo Verde Tree
The Palo Verde grows to heights of 10–12 meters (33–39 ft). It is a rapidly growing large shrub or small tree, and rarely survives to 100 years.
The plant’s trunk, branches, and leaves are blue-green in color. The plant is drought-deciduous, shedding its foliage for most of the year. The Palo Verde leafs out after rainfall. Photosynthesis is performed by the blue-green branches and twigs, regardless of absent leaves.
The flowers are bright yellow, and pea-like, which cover the tree in late spring. They attract bees, beetles, and flies. They are followed by seed pods which are slightly larger and flatter and have harder shells than the foothill Palo Verde. These are a food source for small rodents and birds.
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