Saguaro Flower Facts
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- Peak Saguaro flower bloom is from early May to early June.
- They have a short lifespan – Saguaro flowers bloom typically at dusk and remain open till about mid-morning the next day. By the afternoon the flower will start to wilt, and that’s it for that bloom.
- A single saguaro can produce as many as 100 flowers in a season.
- They get a little help from their friends. – The Saguaro flower relies on a number of desert dwellers to help with the pollination process. This includes bees, moths, hummingbirds and white-winged doves. As these creatures get nectar from the bloom they become covered in pollen, which is then transported and deposited into other flowers.
- But their best friend for life is the bat! – Lesser long-nosed bats and saguaro flowers have co-evolved together making them a match in pollination heaven. The night blooming schedule of these beautiful buds is an ideal time for bats, who use their brush-tipped tongues to extract large quantities of nectar from the flower. The bright white visibility of these flowers also makes it easy for the bat to spot as they move along the dark desert sky.
- They smell delightful! – Saguaro flowers are often describe as having a pungently sweet melon scent. Bats and other wildlife can’t get enough.
- The Saguaro flower is the official state flower of Arizona. – This brilliant bloom was designated Arizona’s state flower in 1931. It joins the ranks of other Arizona state symbols including the Cactus Wren, Turquoise, and Bolo Tie.
- They turn into fruit. – Once a Saguaro flower has been pollinated, it matures into fruit that splits open when ripened reveling bright red pulp. Each piece of fruit contains about 200 small back seeds. The fruit provides nutrients for wildlife and has been harvested by the Tohono O’odham people and their ancestors the Hohokam. Saguaro fruit is typically harvested between mid-June to early July. Tools used to pick these bright red gems usually involve a long pole made out of Saguaro ribs so you can knock down the fruit from the top of the cactus and a bucket.
- They’re edible! – You can eat the fruit raw or boil and strain it to make a sweet syrup that can be used for jellies and candies.
- You can find them all over the desert at lower altitudes.