Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Dense saguaro colony

with 21 comments

Dense Saguaros 2373

How about the density of this saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) colony behind the visitor center in the Tucson Mountain District of Saguaro National Park on September 29, 2014?

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 13, 2015 at 5:25 AM

21 Responses

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  1. That is really neat looking. Were you seeing any rattlesnakes when you were there?

    melissabluefineart

    January 13, 2015 at 8:20 AM

    • Nope, not a single one on the whole trip (nor any other kind of snake, for that matter). We have rattlesnakes in Austin, but even with all the time I spend in nature I almost never see or hear one.

      As for the park, the visitor center has a room that shows a short film about the area. When the film ends, the screen on which people have been watching it rises and through the large picture window that had been hidden behind the movie screen the audience gets to gaze out at the dense stand of saguaros shown in today’s picture. Pretty impressive.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2015 at 8:42 AM

      • That sounds like really good design. I once worked for a wonderful nature center in Peoria. We had more fun coming up with ideas for diplays and otherwise using the building to communicate natural features to our visitors.

        melissabluefineart

        January 13, 2015 at 8:45 AM

  2. I must have been traumatized by Disney’s “Fantasia” when I was a child. I took one look at this photo and remembered this.

    I’ve never seen such a large group, even in photos. And I don’t remember seeing such wrinkly ones. It looks like some are sagging downward. Maybe they’re older, or lacking water. Or, perhaps they just do that. I don’t know how it happened, but I ended up reading about saguaro recently, and learned that some of the biggest can weigh from 3,000 to 4,000 pounds when they’re fully hydrated.

    Is it really nice to call them dense, though? I think they must be pretty smart, to live as long as they do.

    shoreacres

    January 13, 2015 at 8:27 PM

    • Some saguaro cacti have arms, and a few occasionally point downward, so Disney’s version of the slaving brooms in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice aren’t so far-fetched after all.

      Till that afternoon, beginning along the road leading up from Tucson and then culminating here in the national park, I also had never seen as many saguaros, even in photographs or films. As a result I hadn’t anticipated such large numbers, so suddenly seeing them in person, with the saguaros’ smart propensity for density, was exciting. I kept stopping to take more and more pictures.

      As you point out, the gigantea in the scientific name is accurate, with large and well-hydrated saguaros weighing up to two tons.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2015 at 10:17 PM

    • By the way, I don’t know what caused the wrinkliness of some of these saguaros.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2015 at 10:19 PM

  3. Fabulous 🙂 The child in me wants to put hats and faces on them all though 😉

  4. Looks like the Saguaros were quite fruitful and did some serious multiplying.

    Steve Gingold

    January 14, 2015 at 6:09 PM

    • In the metaphorical sense, yes, but by the time I got to the saguaros in September/October there were no more fruits on them. Similarly, I missed their flowers, which emerge in the spring. Still, I delighted in what I did see of them, and in such large numbers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 14, 2015 at 6:59 PM

  5. Looks like a “slightly” challenging hiking destination. 😉 Love the pic though!

    Jane

    January 15, 2015 at 4:19 AM

    • The road from Tucson to this part of the national park goes uphill for a good distance, so I wouldn’t have wanted to hike there. No matter how you get there, though, the view rewards your effort.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2015 at 7:41 AM


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