Saguaro cactus flowers, Coronado National Forest, Arizona, USA
© Jack Dykinga/Minden Picture
The desert blooms
Spring may yet to have sprung here in the UK, but across the Atlantic, in the US state of Arizona, the Sonoran Desert is coming into wildflower season. Soon the big daddy of the cactus world – the saguaro – will start to bloom. This amazing succulent is the largest cactus in the United States (it can grow higher than 50ft and weigh several tonnes, when it’s fully hydrated).
It can also live more than 100 years and will grow arms as it ages, creating that classic cactus profile associated with the desert and the Wild West. Its flowers are short-lived, typically blooming at dusk and remaining open only until the following morning. They form at the top of the plant and the tips of branches and are striking enough to be honoured as Arizona's state flower. They’ll go on to produce a red, edible fruit that will ripen by July.