Mexico's Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts sport a variety of climates as well as a plethora of cacti. These regions have a number of landscape features that are responsible for the differences in characteristics of the various cacti, including their shape, height and ability to produce flowers. Cacti are able to thrive in these dry, arid climates that are inhospitable to many other plant species.
The Organ Pipe
The organ pipe catcus (Stenocereus thurberi) is found in the western region of Mexico. Its stems are tall and shaped like columns. In the spring, it produces fruit that have a sweet taste. The fruit is able to be eaten in the latter part of summer, especially by wildlife such as bats and doves.
The suguaro (Carnigiea gigantea) of the Sonoran Desert is the one most recognizable cactus plants. These cacti live a long time. They grow to 40 feet in height over the course of 200 years. The suguaro produces white flowers that grow from the plant's stems in May and later in June. The fruit that blooms in early to mid-summer is edible.
The senita (Pachycereus schottii) is a tall cactus that features bristled, long spines that provide shade from the sun for the plant. They also protect the cactus from the wind, preventing the it from drying out. The spines redirect the wind's movement as it passes over the plant. It is most prevalent in the plain and valley regions in the Sonoran Desert.
- Photo Credit cactus 2 image by Marc Rigaud from Fotolia.com organ pipe cactus image by Richard Paul from Fotolia.com cactus image by Claudio Calcagno from Fotolia.com
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