As we were hunkering down in a storm just two nights ago with flooding and high winds all around us in South Carolina, we started reminiscing, thinking about where we were exactly a year ago: the sunny, dry desert of Tucson, Arizona!
"Buckhorn Cholla" Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa, Catalina Desert, AZ 01/03/21
Though the desert couldn't provide us any mushrooms, it was generous in its offerings of novel surroundings including plant species, lizards, and a beautiful yet harsh terrain. Below you'll find a gallery of cacti we came across on our walks through the Catalina desert, including some edible cacti fruit! By far the most astounding plant we saw was the stoic "Saguaro" cactus, or Carnegiea gigantea. Some of the Saguaros we encountered were over 200 years old, and highly respected in the natural environment there in Arizona.
Did you know...
On federal land such as Saguaro National Park, it's illegal to remove any plant, including saguaros, according to the National Park Service. As for state, tribal or private land, removal or destruction of saguaros in Arizona is illegal without the landowner's permission and a permit.
In Saguaro National Park Rangers even went as far as inserting microchips to track any cacti that went missing in order to catch poachers red-handed:
Saguaro cacti only grow in a small part of the United States, despite our historic Western film genre showing the Saguaro cactus in almost every setting in the vast "American West."
Although we're spending time now in tropical regions along the East coast, we plant to be back in the deserts of Arizona within a month or so to revisit our noble friends, the Saguaros.
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