Plant Image
Plant - spring
Bloody Basin Rd - Sue Smith

Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Carnegiea gigantea - saguaro

Synonyms: Cereus giganteus
Other Common Names: giant cactus, sahuaro
Plant Form: Cacti

Family: Cactaceae

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Plant - spring
Bloody Basin Rd
Sue Smith
Plant - spring
Bloody Basin Rd
Sue Smith
Bloody Basin Rd
Sue Smith
Bloody Basin Rd
Sue Smith
Plant Description

Origin: Native
General Desc: Tall, green, columnar, tree-like cactus usually to 30 feet tall and 2-1/2 feet in diameter. Branches usually appear well up on the main trunk as the cactus ages but some never grow arms.
Identification notes: Large telephone pole-like stem with gracefully curved arms. Young saguaro can be distinguished from barrel cactus by straight central spines.
Height: To 60 feet     Width:


Habitat Description: Rocky slopes and well-drained flats.
Plant Communities: Desert Scrub
Elevation: 600 - 3600 feet


Color: White     Flowering Period: May - Jun
Description: Creamy white, funnel-shaped with yellow centers to 3 inches wide; appearing in clusters on the tips of arms or main trunk. Flowers open at night and remain open part of the following day.


Stem Color: Green     Number of Stems: Single or Multiple     Stem Shape: Cylindrical     Stems Segmented: N     Stem Surface: Ribbed
Stem Description: Tall, columnar, treelike trunk with 12 to 30 prominent ribs. Ribs increase in number from the narrow base. Branches are to 20 inches in diameter and curve upward and appear well up on the main trunk.

Areoles (structures unique to cacti, found on the stems, areas from which spines, flowers and fruits emerge)

Areole Description: Mostly circular, 1/4 inch in diameter, spaced about 1 inch apart on ribs.
Spine Color: Whitish-gray     Spines Hooked: N    
Spine Description: Whitish-gray, sometimes tinged with pink. 15 to 30 per areole; to 3 inches long. The spines are located on the plant's vertical ribs.


Fruit Color: Red   
Fruit Notes: Egg-shaped, fleshy fruit tinged to 3 inches long and 1-3/4 inches in diameter, filled with black seeds.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2020  
Content Questions/Comments: Email Jeff Schalau  
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