Saguaro Cactus is a cactus that usually grows into a tall, tree-like structure. It has become a symbol of the Southwest, with almost any image of the Southwest containing one or more saguaro cactus. This type of cacti is native to the Sonora Desert and the Imperial County of California in the Whipple Mountains. The plants are found primarily in Arizona today.
Saguaro cactus are hard to grow because they will only develop from seeds, never cuttings. They need a desert environment, but also require water. These cacti can save water in their interior for sometime. Rainfall results in a noticeable puffing out of the cactus plants. The desert survival skill of drinking water from cactus plants comes from this normal cactus plant action to rainfall.
The Sonoran Desert stretches from Arizona through part of Mexico. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, these cacti became a tourist takeaway from the Arizona region. As tourists of all kinds discovered and began visiting the Southwest, they had the usual urge to take home a reminder of their trip. A number of enterprising people began to denude the Arizona desert of this cacti.
One additional problem was tourists kept taking cuttings from the cactus to grow at home. These cuttings killed the cactus and were useless to propagate the plant. Since these cacti grow slowly, needing almost 100 years for their first bloom, this became a serious problem for the citizens of Arizona. The saguaro cactus can live up to 200 years. A need was felt to enact severe laws to save this native species for Arizonians. Thus, the first laws concerning removal and transport of the saguaro cactus had penalties of up to 25 years in state prison.
Today’s laws concerning the saguaro cactus are much more gentile. However, it is to the benefit of Arizona to keep the myth alive about the earlier, more stringent penalties. Today, the action is a fourth grade felony at worst, subject to one to four years in state prison. Most people simply pay a fine and may have to replant a cactus.
Some cities, such as Phoenix, have additional laws concerning the cactus. Generally, an Agricultural Officer comes out and inspects the property. If the permit is approved, the cost is less than $10 for the permit. Arizona’s laws are not that different from other states which also restrict the sale and removal of certain native plants, such as those in California for the golden poppy, the state flower.
So, if you want to grow one of these cacti at home, it is best to purchase some seeds from the fruit of the cactus. You will need to make this a family project, for you might not survive to see the results. There are a number of great cacti that are easy to grow and more fitting for a home garden. It seems nature intended for this cactus to remain at home in the Sonora Desert, and Arizona intends to ensure that the seguaro cactus remains a viable plant in its native desert.
If you’re interested in cactus removal try out American Tree Masters. They are a full service cactus, tree, and stump removal company who have been around for years! They pride themselves on their work and professionalism to get a job done.