Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Crested Saguaro

For 22 years I have wanted to take a photo of this imperial cactus. On a tall hill with numerous
saguaros, it stands out as you drive south on I-19 just as you leave Tucson. It overlooks the Tohono Odham Indian reservation with not a great place to stop and take a picture. But today we did it.

Even when saguaro cacti grow in their normal form, they rarely grow symmetrically. Saguaros sometimes grow in odd or misshapen forms. The growing tip occasionally produces a fan-like form which is referred to as crested or cristate. Though these crested saguaros are somewhat rare, over 25 have been found within the boundaries of the park. Biologists disagree as to why some saguaros grow in this unusual form. Some speculate that it is a genetic mutation. Others say it is the result of a lightning strike or freeze damage. At this point we simply do not know what causes this rare, crested form. From the Saguaro National Park

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