Carnegiea Giganta      
Saguaro    
Cactaceae Family     


Compiled by the Master Gardeners
of the University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension.

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Saguaro cactus
Carnegiea gigantea in its natural setting in the desert
around Tucson, Arizona
(photo by Charles Wiggins)
Form: columnar cactus; branching when mature
Seasonality: evergreen
Size: to 25 or even fifty feet, extremely slow growth
Leaves: spines
Flowers: white, open crown on top of trunk and limbs develop in May; sweet-scented
Fruit: red, 3-4in long, oval, edible (and tasty) but spiny
Stems/Trunks: vertically ribbed with clusters of stout spines along ribs
Range/Origin: native to the Sonoran desert of Arizona and Mexico
Hardiness: terminal growing tip can be permanently damaged during prolonged periods below freezing (several nights in a row)

LANDSCAPE VALUE:

CULTURAL REQUIREMENTS:
close-up of spines
spines along ribs of
Carnegiea gigantea

 


 




Research by Master Gardener Devona Painter


NOTES:

An icon of the American Southwest.
The flower is the state flower of Arizona.

For naturalist large-scale plantings, mix with its associated plants: greasewood, catclaw acacia, paloverde, ironwood and low-growing prickly pear varieties.


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This page was first created May 31, 2004 and last modified June 3, 2006.




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