Someone called SmartyPantzJessi sent me this neat cactus picture for this journal. I messed with it a little - I hope you don't mind! I especially like the Disney-style lettering.
The state flower shown in the graphic is the flower of the Giant Saguaro, that huge cactus with arms that everyone remembers from westerns and Warner Brothers cartoons. It takes something like 75 to 100 years for a saguaro to get big enough to get its first arm. By then it's probably about 20 feet high. The one in the graphic would be about 20 to 30 years old, I'd estimate.
The flowers are visited by bats and birds, and the fruit that comes later is harvested by the Tohono O'Odham using long poles. They use it to make jam, syrup and cermonial wine. Myself, I've never tasted saguaro anything. Flickers and Gila woodpeckers make holes in the mature saguaros for nests, leaving those holes behind for later use by other animals such as tiny elf owls. The hole gets crusted over on the inside as the saguaro heals inself, forming a saguaro "boot." Circle of life stuff, y'know? The saguaro's main enemies are pollution, drought and people. I hate it when I see holes in a saguaro from somebody's gun.
The other picture is a rerun from an older posting. It was taken at our old house on Grannen Road over a decade ago. Another picture from that same property, featuring a more typical saguaro with multiple arms, can be found several entries below this one.