Desert and cacti go together. I am far from being a specialist on cacti but I like to see them. There are so many kinds. I only know a few. How many types do you know ? I recalled buying a post card when we first visited Palm Desert. I found it and took a pic for you.
While visiting THE LIVING DESERT, I was especially happy to see the plants with a sign to tell us what it was and a short description. Most of the photos are taken with my smart phone as I ran out of battery for my camera! Sorry for the poor quality .
Another day, we saw some ocotillos , starting to bloom. Ocotillo is not a true cactus but plant of the desert.
Here are some close-ups of different cacti we saw. You want to look but not touch!
In Arizona, we saw the cactus called SAGUARO. It was interesting to learn how it is pronounced. It sounds like: SA-WO-RO !!! Saguaros have a relatively long lifespan. They may grow their first side arm any time from 75–100 years of age, but some never grow one at all. A saguaro without arms is called a spear. I will try to do another post about this cactus. But for now here one photo taken along the highway and another one in Mesa .
Cacti occur in a range of shapes and sizes. Most cacti live in habitats subject to at least some drought. Many live in extremely dry environments, even being found in the Atacama Desert , one of the driest places on earth. Cacti show many adaptations to conserve water. Almost all cacti are succulents , meaning they have thickened, fleshy parts adapted to store water. Unlike many other succulents, the stem is the only part of most cacti where this vital process takes place. Most species of cacti have lost true leaves, retaining only spines,, which are highly modified leaves. As well as defending against herbivores , spines help prevent water loss by reducing air flow close to the cactus and providing some shade.
Here is a collage with cacti we saw when we visited Sunnylands Center and Garden, in Rancho Mirage.
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