Cacti (plural for cactus) are one of the unique features of the beautiful Arizona landscape. This article describes a few of the most common cacti found in Arizona: prickly pear, saguaro, golden hedgehog, barrel and jumping cholla. We are Scottsdale real estate experts who are passionate about living in Arizona. Make AZGolfHomes your source for everything you want to know about our area.
1) Prickly Pear: The prickly pear has a very distinctive shape – it appears almost flat, with cartoon-balloon shaped pads. Rich in fiber, B vitamins, iron, magnesium and amino acids, many people eat prickly pear (or drink prickly pear syrup) for its health benefits. The Prickly Pear’s fruit can be eaten raw (once the spines have been removed, of course), but they tend to taste better after they’ve been made into candy or wine.
2) Saguaro: The Saguaro cactus (pronounced “sə-ˈwär-ə”) only grows in the Sonoran Desert and can live as long as 200 years. Often weighing up to 6 tons (mostly water weight), the cactus usually lives for 50 years before it grows its first branch.
3) Golden Hedgehog Cactus: Named because it resembles the animal of the same name, the hedgehog cactus has short arms, usually 2-3 inches in length, and vibrant, dark purple flowers. A fun fact about this cactus? Its spines can be grinded with sugar to make sweet cakes.
4) Barrel Cactus: These round, squat cacti can live as long as 130 years. Great cacti for any desert gardener, the barrel cactus is easy to maintain and grows quickly. The most interesting fact about this cactus is that is often leans towards the southwest, so it can be used as a compass of sorts if you’re stranded in the middle of the desert.
5) Jumping Cholla: Watch out for these ones. Although the Jumping Cholla is also known as the Teddy Bear Cholla, there is nothing cuddly about it – please DO NOT hug it! The branches of a jumping cholla are easily detached, so if you so much as lightly brush up against one, be prepared to walk away with something more than you started with. The needles of a jumping cholla are very painful to remove from skin even though they look (deceptively) furry.
Fun Bonus Cactus Names: Here’s a laugh for the day. Some cacti have the funniest names, like the Big Hatchet Snowball Cactus, the Heil’s Devil-Claw Cactus, the Xique-Xique and the Golden Easter Lily Cactus. Reach out to us if you would like to learn more about our area.
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