Flora and Fauna News

Sonoran Desert Edition

Tuesday, Mar. 12th, 2019
Vol. 22 No. 2

Saguaros Face Bounty and Danger/H3>

 

 

With an abundance of rainfall in October and November 2018 and then again in February and early March, 2019, Saguaro Cacti across the Sonoran Desert have stored tons of water for use during the next several months as the desert heats up. The water will allow lots of photosynthetic activity between now and mid-May when the flowers begin opening. The resulting energy and food will be stored by the cactus for use in developing fruit and for new growth. A good fruit crop will ensure healthy populations of White-winged Doves that gorge on the fruit pulp.

The saguaro stores water within the spongy tissue of its columns with the accordian-like ribs expanding as the reservoir fills up. But as any desert hiker knows, a large quantity of water is heavy. Add to this a typically windy month ahead and the top-heavy cactus, rooted in moist, loose soil runs a serious risk of toppling. Injuries caused by wind damage are quickly exploited by insects, fungi, and bacteria with the death of the cactus likely.


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Flora and Fauna News, now in its 20th year of publication, appears several times
per month and provides current information about the birds, insects and plants
(natural history) living in the Arizona Sonoran Desert.
Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 2018
Send questions or comments to mjplagens@arizonensis.org

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