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Cactus or cacti. The plants correctly designated by this name constitute the family Cactaceae. Scarcely any group in the whole plant kingdom is more remarkable for its strange and varied forms, www.gardenology.o...

The cacti’s stately silhouette is used to brand everything from Old El Paso food products to westerns filmed throughout the southwest. Only the saguaro doesn’t naturally grow within 250 miles of El Paso, TX or in most southwestern states, for that matter. The tree-like cactus makes its home exclusively in the Sonora desert, which covers parts of Arizona, California, and Mexico.

The Saguaro Cactus (Cereus giganteus) is the indicator plant of the Sonoran Desert, found in the American Southwest and northwest Mexico. These monarchs of the desert stand as ancient sentinels over this harsh environment known for its extremes of temperature and precipitation. Human beings lived in this region long before the saguaros began to colonize this warm, dry landscape some 10,000 years ago. Credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher

A lighthouse in the desert seems as out of place as a cactus in the middle of the ocean, right?Maybe, but that isn't stopping the sun-scorched community of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. from having 20 of them -- with plans to add at least 15 more.In the last 10 years, Lake Havasu City, a desert town of 52,527 located near the California border, has been putting up lighthouses all over the 40-mile-long reservoir that gives the city its name.

Scottsdale, AZ NYT Cactus nature trails in the desert, Indian artifacts, railroad park with real steam locomotives, cowboy-style horseback riding, visits to ghost towns like Goldfield, less than an hour away, staged gunfights on weekends. Train rides, mine tours, gold-panning. tour Taliesin West, which Frank Lloyd Wright began building in 1937 as his personal winter getaway.

Mammillaria arroyensis - this member of the cactus family grows in rings, with perfect little flowers clustered at the top. Like a lot of Mamillaria species, it has some fur to keep it warm on the cool desert nights, and keep it warm in the hot desert days.

This bobcat leapt 50 feet up a prickly cactus and stayed there for six hours to escape from a mountain lion in the Sonoran Desert, Gold Canyon, Arizona, United States. The terrified feline climbed to the top of the Giant Saguaro Cactus and was so scared it stayed on top of the catctus for several hours.

Saguaro Cactus Creamy-white, 3-inch-wide flowers with yellow centers bloom May and June. Clustered near the ends of branches, the blossoms open during cooler desert nights and close again by next midday.This fruit was an especially important food source to Native Americans of the region who used the flesh, seeds and juice. Seeds from the Saguaro fruit are prolific -- as many as 4,000 to a single fruit -- probably the largest number per flower of any desert cactus.

Saguaro Cactus - DesertUSA

ECHEVERIA elegans - (A warning: If you have any propensity towards cactus love to begin with, moving to the desert will increase it exponentially!) A long-standing passion - a passion most people find utterly boring and something only a cactus-lover will understand - THE LOVE OF CACTUS. So maybe this post is not for you, but if it is, read on! hedgiesjoy.blogsp...

Jumping Cholla cactus growing in Joshua Tree National Park. wenty Nine Palms, Colorado Desert section of Joshua Tree National Park, California. by Phil Schermeister

A variety of desert foliage including Saguaro, Barrel and Cholla Cactus showcased by some fortuitous lighting conditions in Arizona's Superstition Mountains at sunset.

Lightning forks to the ground behind a saguaro cactus during a monsoonal thunderstorm in the sonoran desert near Florence Arizona.

6104-1021 ~ Copyright: George H.H. Huey ~ Sand Verbena [Abronia gracillis] tree yucca [Yucca valida] and cardon cactus [pachycereus pringlei]. Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve. Sonoran Desert. Baja California, Mexico.

Reasons to Consider Cactus - From furry to curvy to spiky, a cactus is perfect for most summer climates. Here are nine great reasons why these desert plants are a terrific choice.

My favorite cactus; I love their many shapes. This looks like a band of them traveling across the desert.

This pretty flowering cactus should not be confused with Fishhook Barrel cactus. Fishhook cactus is a smallcatus, usually growing up to 6-7 inches (20 cm) high, and is shaped similar to a barrel cactus. This species belong to the genus Mammillaria. They are found on the Sonoran Desert on the U.S. - Mexico border and the Mesa Verde National Park.

The whole gallery is interesting. This one cactus is the lynchpin for a whole desert community.

Saguaro Blooms The Saguaro cactus of the Sonoran desert, in full bloom. Shot west of Tucson Arizona

Barrel Cactus Blossoms A colorful mix of flowers, spines, and detail of the cactus. Shot taken at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, west of Tucson Arizona.