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Saguaro Cactus Blossom
Official State Flower of Arizona
The pure white waxy blossom of the giant saguaro cactus was designated the state flower of Arizona in 1931. All State Flowers
The giant saguaro cactus (Cereus giganteus) is indigenous to Arizona; it grows to a height of forty to fifty feet and lives to an age of 150 to 200 years.
Native to the Sonoran Desert in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, saguaros (pronounced “sah-wah-roh”) are slow-growing and take up to 75 years to develop a side shoot. They are also slow at propagating, and the giant saguaro cactus is a candidate for the endangered species list.
Harming a saguaro cactus in any manner is illegal in Arizona, and during construction projects, special precautions must be taken to move every saguaro affected.
Saguaro Cactus Blossom
In 1901 the saguaro blossom from the saguaro cactus was adopted as the official territorial flower, and later, in 1931, it was confirmed as the state flower of Arizona.
The saguaro cactus typically blooms in May and June. The saguaro cactus is the largest cactus in the United States, growing more than 50 feet. Some of those large cacti can be anywhere from 150 to 200 years old. They are native and grow exclusively in the Sonoran Desert.
It is one of the most unique state flowers, and is characterized by having a waxy feel, but fragrant aroma- almost like an overripe melon. There may be hundreds of flowers on a saguaro cactus that bloom just several at a time over a period of more than a month.
The saguaro flowers have a short life; they open at night and close permanently during the next day. Many of the blossoms will become pollinated and, later in the summer, the flowers become red-fleshed fruits that are enjoyed by the local bird population.
what is arizona\\u0027s state flower and bird
The Capital of Arizona is Phoenix and the state colors are Blue and Gold. The State Motto is: “Ditat Deus” which means: God Enriches.
The Arizona State Bird is the Cactus Wren and the State Flower of Arizona is the Saguaro Cactus Flower. The Arizona State Tree is the Palo Verde Tree and the State Mammal is the Ringtail.
Our State Butterfly is the Two-tailed Swallowtail and our Arizona State fish is the Apache Trout. The Arizona State Gemstone is Turquoise & the State Fossil is Petrified Wood.
The Arizona State Reptile is the Arizona Ridgednosed Rattlesnake and the State Amphibian is the Arizona Tree Frog.
And believe it or not Arizona actually has an official State Neckwear which is the Bolo Tie.
So there you have it, everything you ever wanted to know about all the Arizona State Birds, Flowers, Critters and more. You can now be the hit of the party at as you express your profound knowledge of Arizona Facts!
Oh, and by the way, Tucson is the best place to live in Arizona! We love it here. If you have any interest in moving to Arizona find out everything you need to know about Tucson Real Estate from one of the Top Realtors in Tucson.
People lived in the area that’s now Arizona at least 20,000 years ago, before written history. But in the 1200s, this civilization disappeared, probably due to a drought. Much later, Native American tribes such as the Hopi, Zuni, Navajo, and Apache lived on the land, and today 22 tribes still reside on reservations in the state.
Spanish explorers first arrived in the 1530s, but through the 1840s, Arizona—as well as present-day California, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico—was a part of Mexico. The United States gained control of the land after winning the Mexican-American War in 1848. In 1863, Arizona became a U.S. territory, then joined the Union in 1912 as the 48th state.
WHY’S IT CALLED THAT?
Arizona’s name may have come from an early Arizona explorer of Spanish descent, Juan Bautista de Anza, who may have called it “place of oaks,” or from Papago Native American words that translate to “place of the young spring.”
About five million people visit the state’s nickname each year: the 277-mile-long Grand Canyon.
GEOGRAPHY AND LANDFORMS
Arizona is bordered by Nevada in the northwest, Utah in the north, New Mexico in the east, Mexico in the south, and California in the west.
The Grand Canyon snakes through the northwest corner of the state in an area called the Colorado Plateau. Carved by the Colorado River, the canyon plunges 6,000 feet down at its deepest point and stretches 18 miles wide. In the northeast the Painted Desert shows off over 160 miles of colorful, horizontally striped stone, as well as 200-million-year-old fossilized plants and animals in Petrified Forest National Park. The Basin and Range Province covers the rest of the state and includes the Sonoran Desert, and it extends over several other states.
Black bears, desert bighorn sheep, and mountain lions roam in Arizona. Stranger animals such as the coatimundi (a raccoon relative with a tail striped like a lemur’s), the pig-like javelina, and a small wild cat called a jaguarundi are also on the prowl. Birds such as raptors, California condors, and falcons fly overhead, while reptiles like Gila monsters, ornate box turtles, desert tortoises, and rattlesnakes creep through deserts. Amphibians like the endangered Sonoran tiger salamander live near lakes and ponds.
Evergreens such as piñon pines and junipers grow in mountains, and deserts are dotted with mesquite trees, flowering cacti, and shrubs such as sagebrush and creosote bushes.
Arizona produces silver and gold, but its top metal is copper—the state produces the most in the United States. In the early 1900s, the state’s copper helped build the Arizona’s railroads. Part of the largest stand of ponderosas lies in Arizona and extends into New Mexico, which yield lumber and paper.
—Arizona was home to Apache warrior Geronimo, who fought Mexican and then U.S. troops in the 1800s; civil rights activist and farm rights worker Cesar Chavez; and jazz performer Charles Mingus.
—Stop by the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, where Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday survived a shootout so famous that 10 movies have been made about it.
—Stargazers won’t want to miss Kitt Peak National Observatory, which houses the world’s largest collection of optical and radio telescopes. They recently helped discover galaxies 12 billion light-years away!
—The Hoover Dam, completed in 1935 and named after President Herbert Hoover, is considered an engineering marvel—the water collected at the dam can supply two million acres with water! Tour passageways and tunnels inside the giant dam, walk on top of it, and even take an elevator 530 feet down to the bottom.
—Check out the sandstone cliffs in Red Rock State Park, which opened in 1991.
ARIZONA STATE FLOWER: THE INCREDIBLE SAGUARO CACTUS FLOWER
Saguaro Cactus Flower: Two Distinguishing Features
The Saguaro cactus flower shares an unusual feature with Maine’s state flower, the white pine cone and tassel (Pinus strobus). That is, you will probably have to lean back and look up to see Arizona’s and Maine’s state flowers because they may be as high as 40 feet off of the ground. While white pines can grow to be as tall as 70 feet, the saguaro cactus is a plant, not a tree, and it tops out at 40 feet. This still makes saguaros the largest cactus in the United States.
Saguaro cactus flowers also share the distinction of being one of only two state flowers in the United States that is a fruit-bearing native plant. The other is the American Samoa hala tree flower (Pandanus tectorius), whose fruit is eaten in Micronesia, Polynesia, and India, and tastes similar to jackfruit, pineapple, and mango.
If you put these two features together, you might wonder, what in the world does a 40-foot high fruiting flower look like? And what does it taste like? And where can you taste it? You will find the largest saguaro cactus flower bloom in Saguaro National Park throughout the month of May. You may be able to catch the last few blossoms in early June.
Cactus Flower Peak Blossoming
During peak blossoming, in May, each individual white flower opens and closes within about 24 hours.
A single cactus may be loaded with scores of blossoms, crowning the fingertips of the iconic saguaro cactus arms.
The flowers are pollinated by birds, bees, and bats. Saguaro cacti are distributed like trees, as both singular specimens and as a forest, carpeting miles of National Park and the surrounding natural open space areas in the region around Saguaro National Park.
Numerous blooms open each day on one cactus, creating an exotic display, that occurs nowhere else outside of the Sonoran Desert. Saguaro flowers start to blossom in the first week of May and continue through about the first week of June. Learn about the Saguaro Flower Power Project at Saguaro National Park here.
Harvesting of Saguaro Fruit
But stick around, because June is when the delicate white blossoms that have been pollinated develop into deep ruby-red fruits.
These fruits will be eaten by birds, bats, and those dedicated few persons who harvest them at the peak of summer heat, usually just weeks before the monsoon rains arrive and cool the desert down.
Saguaro fruit harvesting is a tradition that has been practiced for many years (probably hundreds) by Native American peoples who have lived in the Sonoran Desert.
The fruits need to be gently knocked off the cactus with a special pole that is traditionally made from saguaro cactus ribs. The ribs are nearly as hard as a hardwood and are used for roofing support material, rafters, fences, walls, and furniture.
The fruits are harvested, cooked, and strained into a fine and thick syrup with sugar added to preserve the fruit as syrup or jam.
Saguaro Fruit Flavor & Uses
The flavor is similar to plum and raspberry, with deeper textures and flavors. Learn more about the traditional saguaro fruit harvest in Saguaro National Park here.
Where can you taste this incredible fruit? Saguaro fruit is not commercially produced or sold at farmers markets or in local stores. It rarely shows up on restaurant menus, but when it does, you are most likely to find it at a farm-to-table restaurant that sources local and wild food ingredients.
Where to Taste Saguaro Cactus Fruit
Saguaro fruit syrup is used in the way that a raspberry sauce may be used on sweet, sour, spicy, or savory dishes.
The photo, below, shows pistachio ice cream topped with saguaro syrup and garnished with edible flowers at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, is the highest Forbes rated resort in Arizona and is 40 minutes from Saguaro National Park’s Signal Hill Picnic Area, where you may enjoy blooming saguaros in open vistas, have a picnic, and take some easy hikes.
Where to Experience Saguaro Cactus Flowers
Plan a long stay at the White Stallion Ranch, the highest-rated guest ranch in the United States, which abuts Saguaro National Park, and take guided horse rides through the blooming landscape. If you have only an hour to a couple of days during peak saguaro bloom, drop in at the Red Hills Visitor Center at Saguaro National Park West. You’ll be forever changed by this flower.