I found this cactus while hiking around looking for saguaro cactus in the Sonoran Desert near Phoenix. It is a young Teddy Bear Cholla cactus growing among the rocks. It is about 6 inches tall and with the low point of view, looks much larger. The camera is on the ground, looking up slightly. The green plant behind the Cholla is an ocotillo. This is one of my favorites, because of the look of this young plant growing from the rocks and the unusual point of view.
The official name is Cylindropuntia bigelovii. It is native to California, Nevada, Arizona & Northwestern Mexico. They grow up to five feet in height with many branches covered in spines. From a distant the Cholla looks to be fuzzy, therefore the name Teddy Bear Cholla. Like its cousin Jumping Cholla, the branches fall off easy and attach to clothing or animal fur and easily starts new plants elsewhere. So over time small “forests” of Chollas will fill the desert floor.
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The Golden Barrel Cacti is one of the most recognized cactus. In the wild it is rare and endangered, but is one of the most cultivated cacti by plant nurseries for consumers. These are highly desirable for planting in containers and garden landscapes. Their life can be as long as 30 years and when mature they grow clustering barrels like above. The official name for this cactus is Echinocactus Grusonii.
This was photographed in the desert garden at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.
Mature plants will have small yellow flowers around the crown. This is a flower on my Golden Barrel of about 8 yrs old. The size of the barrel is about 24 inches in diameter.
One of my favorites, these two saguaro cactus are growing side by side in this Sonoran Desert near Phoenix, AZ. I call this photo “Loving Couple” because it instantly reminds me of an inseparable couple (people) in a relationship.
Saguaro cactus is native to the Sonoran Desert area of the southwestern United States. This desert covers much of Arizona, small part of California and a large area in Mexico. It only grows in the Sonoran Desert but not all of the desert. Elevation is key due to possible freezing temperatures. Generally it grows in elevations of zero feet up to 4000 feet.
The life span of a saguaro can be as much as 200 years. The adult saguaro is about 125 years old. And a saguaro may take 50 to 100 years to grow arms. It will produce reproductive flowers around 35 years and continue to produce flowers throughout it’s life.
These two have probably been together at least 50 years, never bickering, just enjoying the peaceful surroundings. There neighbors consist of an ocotillo on the left side of the photo, some red barrels in the distance and other saguaros too.
Another fine subject from the Huntington Library Desert Garden. This is in the agave family and is officially named Agave Parryi and commonly called Mescal. It is a cactus / succulent that originates from Mexico. It grows about 2 to 3 feet tall and about 3 to 4 feet wide. When fully mature it will send up a flower stock over 10 feet tall with orange buds and yellow flowers.
The blue green color of the leaves make this a beautiful cactus in any cactus garden. Here it boldly stands out against all of the surrounding cactus green. The surrounding green was darkened down to add contrast to this photo and to emphasize the agave coloring.
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