A beautiful Saguaro Cactus sits overlooking the desert whilst adorning her captivating flowers. Saguaro Nat Park, AZ.
Springtime in the desert is a stunning scene! As temperatures soar into the 90's, the poppies and lupine of early spring are quickly replaced by flowering cacti. Among these cacti are the massive saguaros, the icon of our beautiful Sonoran Desert. Their thick bodies offer refuge to a number of birds, following the oh-so-common excavations of gila woodpeckers. The flowers offer nectar and pollen to untold numbers of birds and insects. The fruit feeds many more creatures, especially after falling to the ground where it's within reach of javelina, coyotes, and rodents. Even in death, the mighty saguaro holds moisture which contains entire ecosystems, while reptiles hide underneath to escape the intense daytime heat. Saguaro Nat Park, AZ.
Like so many other desert creatures, this hummingbird and the nearly invisible honey bee enjoy the gifts of their saguaro host. Saguaro Nat Park, AZ.
These beautiful, tiny cacti are considered "hedgehogs." This species often thrives in steep, rocky habitats. Box Canyon, AZ.
The cholla is extremely sinister, even among cacti. It reproduces by catching the needle-sharp, barbed spines of it's 4-inch detachment in the skin of an unfortunate animal, eventually falling off after days of agonizing pain for the recipient. The beautiful flowers it produces may be even more of a paradox than the thorns on roses. Saguaro NP West, AZ.
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