I love visiting the desert around Tucson in the spring! The weather is lovely, the desert is alive, and you get to enjoy the beautiful saguaro forest.
I find saguaro the most interesting of the many species of cacti; by silhouette alone the saguaro is an iconic symbol of the American Southwest. Saguaro can grow to a height of 20 meters (70 ft) and live up to several hundred years. They are native to the Sonoran desert of northern Mexico and southern Arizona.
Saguaro cacti grow “arms”, the first appearing from 75 – 100 years of age. The arms increase the plant’s reproductive capacity (more tops yield more flowers and fruit — the fruit being edible). Whenever it rains, saguaros soak up the rainwater; the cactus will visibly expand, holding the water which it conserves and slowly consumes. I’ve actually see this firsthand after a heavy thundershower.
Saguaro cacti are protected by Arizona law, to the point where construction of houses or roads require special permits to be obtained to move or destroy any saguaro affected. I think these cacti are certainly worth protecting.