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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Give me land, Lots of land, under starry skies above...

~Don't fence me in.........

Well, last well I must of done a good job of of buffalo'in ya'll!

It was a tight close up, which I did turn on its side, but if you would of clicked on it to look at it better you may of noticed a few things... like some spines, ridges, and even some gnaw marks! We had one Wednesday Wizard  I give a big tip of the pointy hat too, that guessed a cacti ...
It was in fact a Saguaro!

Who is this magnificent lone Winning Wednesday Wizard for this week?

Every one give a Wizard salute to

Staci do not forget to grab the coveted Wednesday Wizard badge (over there in the left side ) to post on your blog, home or person (grin) to announce to the world that you belong to our elite club of all magical, brilliant and knowing of unusual things!

Here is the photo the close up was cropped from. Unbelievably this is near the base, where animals have girdled it and had nested and gnawed a few meals. It was still very much alive. I just found this part very interesting.


A short history, hubby and I were traveling back from Arizona to San Diego during a special holiday trip (only one we ever took) to visit our son in CA and then to visit aunts and cousins and other relatives in AZ. We were driving the southern route back from Dewey/Prescott Valley area which I believe is HY 89 down to a little jog on HY 71 down to 60 which finally got us to HY 95 which took us down through 95 and the Yuma proving grounds (the scenic route!). Miles of nothing, so don't be running out of water or gas or breaking down!! That is where the Military sends their pilots to test the planes and drop things. So one side is the Kofa mountain range and is called a National Wildlife Refuge, we did not see any wildlife. And on the other side of the the HY is the Chocolate mountain range that is the proving grounds. I did not find any chocolates either, but that side had barbed wire and lots of signs like this:

We did see some old rusted cans, real old rusted cans, made from metal, not the stuff of today, cans that had been opened with "church-keys" or what was called a can or bottle opener.

Now a bit of history on the Saguaro:

The magnificent Saguaro Cactus, the state flower of Arizona, is composed of a tall, thick, fluted, columnar stem, 18 to 24 inches in diameter, often with several large branches (or arms) curving upward in the most distinctive conformation of all Southwestern cacti. It is only found in the Sonoran Desert.

The skin is smooth and waxy, the trunk and stems have stout, 2-inch spines clustered on their ribs. When water is absorbed , the outer pulp of the Saguaro can expand like an accordion, increasing the diameter of the stem and, in this way, can increase its weight by up to a ton.

same cactus taken from different directions

The Saguaro often begins life in the shelter of a "nurse" tree or shrub which can provide a shaded, moister habitat for the germination of life. The Saguaro grows very slowly -- perhaps an inch a year -- it takes about fifteen years for a young saguaro to reach one foot in height, and forty years to reach ten feet in height. It is about then that they can begin to bloom. The largest plants, with more than 5 arms, are estimated to be 200 years old. An average old Saguaro would have 5 arms and be about 30 feet tall.
 The Saguaro Cactus has an amazing root system. The root system is very shallow for such a tall, heavy plant. The Saguaro Cactus has one tap root that is only about three feet long. It also has two sets of radial roots. One is a thick root system, which is only about one foot long, and there is also a thinner root system that grows to a length equal to the height of the Saguaro Cactus. These roots wrap about rocks providing adequate anchorage from winds across the rocky bajadas.

Kofa Mountains

The slow growth and great capacity of the Saguaro to store water allow it to flower every year, regardless of rainfall. A dense group of yellow stamens forms a circle at the top of the tube; the Saguaro has more stamens per flower than any other desert cactus. A sweet nectar accumulates in the bottom of this tube. The Saguaro can only be fertilized by cross-pollination -- pollen from a different cactus. The sweet nectar, together with the color of the flower, attracts birds, bats and insects, which in acquiring the nectar, pollinate the Saguaro flower.

 photo credit J. Hedding

Over a period of a month or more, only a few of the up to 200 flowers open each night, secreting nectar into their tubes, and awaiting pollination. These flowers close about noon the following day, never to open again. If fertilization has occurred, fruit will begin to form immediately.
The 3-inch, oval, green fruit ripens just before the fall rainy season, splitting open to reveal the bright-red, pulpy flesh which all desert creatures seem to relish. This fruit was an especially important food source to Native Americans of the region who used the flesh, seeds and juice. (Many people today are enjoying this delight) Seeds from the Saguaro fruit are prolific -- as many as 4,000 to a single fruit -- probably the largest number per flower of any desert cactus.

photo credit Do Life Right Blog

 The Gila Woodpecker and the Gilded Flicker are who like to make their home in the Saguaro Cactus by chiseling out small holes in the trunk. As well as other natives purple martins and house finches. Since the Gila Woodpecker likes a new home every nesting period, many of the vacated holes are used by Elf Owls.
Saguaros provide shelter and food to many species of animals and insects.
One last important fact: Harming a saguaro in any manner, including cactus plugging ,is illegal by state law , in Arizona, and when houses or highways are built, special permits must be obtained to move or destroy any saguaro affected.

Before I show next weeks innuendo for you to noddle on for comments and guesses, I remind you that Mr. Linky is below for all who play along in the mid-week games. I also repeat that I love all your comments and thank you so much for playing, I hope you are enjoying yourself and find my mid-week amusement a bit entertaining.  

Here is this weeks noddle :

anyone care to guess as to "what kind"??

Enjoy, keep your eyes open and your mind awake!

   until next time...


  1. What an interesting post, and quite a bit of research! I'm not any good at guessing games.

    Enjoy your photos, but have never been out west - I'm an ocean gal and couldn't stand to be anywhere that wasn't near salt water!

  2. It looks like a rock maybe. Or lemon poppyseed crepes. Maybe I'm just hungry although I don't eat rocks. :)

  3. I had fun learning about the Saquaro. And, now know the world's smallest owl is an elf owl. How kewl is that?

    I would like to guess this week's picture is a moth, also. Will try to figure out what kind later.


  4. Last weeks entry sure had me confused, now that I see the whole picture it is so obvious!

    This week it looks like...I think I will just wait until next week for the answer!

  5. Some sort of moth. Do we have to know what kind? That's beyond me. :)

  6. Interesting...thanks for sharing.

  7. Anonymous6:16 AM

    those cacti are BEAUTIFUL. Great post.

  8. I was thinking a moth, but the wings don't look big enough. Of course, the ones I see are just plain grey.

  9. Beautiful photos and info on cacti! :)

  10. Such beautiful, fascinating creations. Happy WW!

  11. Love the pictures. I am in AZ and I think it is so beautiful here. As for the pic, it looks like one of those big moths.

  12. That is a moth in the guess photo but which one is beyond me! Great info on the cactus!

  13. Great pictures! I think it's a moth.

  14. That's a moth I believe but I am not familiar with moth types. I don't stick around long enough to examine them.

  15. This post is very well researched and written. I can easily see this week is a moth, but which one, I will eagerly await your post next week!

    Happy WW!

  16. I still never would have guessed that correctly! Go Staci! :)

    I had no idea that any cactus actually produced fruit! Love learning new things like this!

    I think this week's hint is definitely some type of moth. :)

    WW: Goofy Contortionist

  17. I can so see that it is a cactus now that you've pointed it out duh! I imagine the shallow root system catches moisture before it has a chance to evaporate in the desert heat.

    I can totally tell what this weeks mystery is, but I'll keep my moth shut for now ;)

  18. I've never traveled out that way but it looks like a fun trip!

  19. Monarch? I really have no clue (I'm a little stupid about some things, and that is the only butterfly name I know---but I think that is the orange and brown one, right?)

  20. looks like a moth but no idea what kind!

  21. I would say moth of some variety... :)

  22. Think that's a moth.

    Such a wonderful post you always are so informative

  23. Yay! So glad I got last weeks! Maybe a Luna Moth this week?

  24. Yup, agree with the others: a moth or butterfly. Pretty - unless they're eating your crops I suppose.

  25. Very informative post. I didn't know cactus can live that long. This week is a moth, I don't know what kind though. A yellow one? lol.

  26. Hi Faythe, I just wanted to tell you your name is spelt the same as my grand daughter Faythe. I think it is kinda funny because my daughter thought she came up with the spelling. I had to show her she didn't.

  27. Completely fascinating! I never saw a cactus that close up. But these pics are beautiful and very cool.

  28. Wow Grammy, you are getting quite popular. And well deserved popularity, no doubt.

    Interesting to learn more about the Saguaro cactus. The fruit almost looks delicious.


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