This movie requires Flash Player 8. Download Flash Player 8

Issue Features
View this issue online as it looks in print
Discovery Magazine 11/1/2005

The Mighty Saguaro

When you see a picture of the old West with cowboys, you probably remember seeing a tall, round cactus with round “arms” that stick out of the side and then curve upward. You probably did not know its name: the Saguaro (suh-WAR-o). The mighty Saguaro grows in only one region on Earth—the Sonoran Desert (southern Arizona, northern Mexico, and a tiny pocket of southeast California). These desert giants are the largest cacti in the United States, dwarfing every other living thing in the desert.
Saguaros grow very slowly—only about one inch per year. The average life span of a Saguaro is probably 150-175 years of age, although some may live over 200 years! They can weigh six to ten tons, growing to a height of fifty feet and two feet in diameter. This tremendous weight is supported by a circular skeleton of wooden ribs that make the outside appear as a massive fluted column. Shallow roots spread out just beneath the surface of the ground to wrap around rocks to support its great height and weight, and as an anchor against desert winds.
God designed the Saguaro to survive desert conditions. Though birds like the Gilded Flicker, the Gila (HEE-luh) woodpecker, and the tiny elf owl chisel small holes in the trunk for a home, two-inch spines clustered on the ribs provide protection from serious injury. As water is absorbed through the roots, the ribs of the Saguaro can expand like an accordion so water can be stored for use during the dry spells.
Saguaros begin to grow “branches” (arms) only after 50 years. At age 35, they begin to produce creamy white flowers, usually at the top of the main trunk and arms. The three-inch, oval, green fruit ripens just before the fall rainy season, splitting open to expose bright-red, pulpy flesh that desert creatures like to eat. A single fruit from the Saguaro can have as many as 4,000 tiny black seeds, with a Saguaro producing some 40 million seeds during its lifetime. When the fruit and seeds are eaten by a coyote or bird, the seeds pass through their digestive system unharmed and are distributed throughout the desert to grow more cacti.
Like the whole created realm, the mighty Saguaro shows the handiwork of God (Psalm 19:1).

Copyright © 2010 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, excepting brief quotations, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Phone (334) 272-8558

Web Store

Defending the Faith Study Bible

We are very excited to announce the NEW AP Defending the Faith Study Bible now available.

Featured Audio


Click the following link to visit our Multimedia section.

Featured Audio