Arizona is a beautiful desert state in the American southwest, so it makes perfect sense that in 1931 the state picked a native desert plant as the state floral emblem; the Saguaro Cactus Blossom. The Saguaro Catcus is a unique and imposing plant, towering over all others in the Sonoran Desert. When fully grown they stand 40-50 feet high, sometimes even up to 60 feet and can live 150-200 years. They grow and reproduce very slowly and are a candidate for the endangered species list.
The Saguaro Cactus Blossom is a creamy white flower with a yellow center and a waxy feel. They are very fragrant, opening at night when the air cools and closing up again by mid-day the next day. Most blooms only live about 18 hours. They bloom in May and June, then by July bear a bright red fruit that is a favorite among the local bird populations. Did you know the fruit was used by Native Americans of the area to make syrup, and that it can also be eaten raw from the plant? The plants are primarily pollinated by bats and doves who come to eat the sweet nectar of the flower. The Saguaro Cactus is protected by Arizona state law and therefore it is illegal to harm a Saguaro Cactus in any way. The biggest threat to the population of the Saguaro Cactus is humans, who in recent years have been stealing the beautiful plants from the desert to use for desert landscaping. Saguaro Cacti are most often killed in the wild by lightning strikes.