What is the State Flower of Arizona?

What is the State Flower of Arizona?

Saguaro Cactus Blossom is the State flower of Arizona. Carnegiea gigantea is the scientific name of Saguaro Cactus Blossom and it is commonly known as Saguaro Blossom. Arizona is home to some breathtaking wildflower blooms. During each spring, the desert landscape is verdant with beautiful, vibrant flowers for everyone to get pleasure from. But the wildflowers aren’t the only things showing off for admiring hikers. The saguaro cacti blooms too are sites to behold. Between May and June each year, the towering desert plants bloom flowers at the end of their arms.

In 1901 the saguaro’s blossom was adopted as the official territorial flower, and later, in 1931, it was confirmed as the state flower of Arizona. It is one of the most unique state flowers, and is characterized by having a waxy feel, but fragrant aroma (similar to an overripe melon). There may be hundreds of flowers on a saguaro cactus that bloom just several at a time over a period of more than a month.

State Flower Arizona Facts:

  • Common Name:  Saguaro Cactus Blossom
  • Genus:  Carnegiea
  • Species:  Carnegiea gigantea
  • Found in:  The Sonoran Desert in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico
  • Color:  Creamy white
  • Time of blooming:  May and June

The Arizona’s state flower doesn’t grow on a bush or on a shrub, but on a cactus. The Saguaro flower grows on the giant saguaro (Cereus giganteus) which is the largest cactus in the USA. These glorious cacti thrive in the hot, dry Arizona desert, particularly in the Sonoran Desert which is located in the southwestern part of the state. The Saguaro flowers are creamy-white, 3-inch-wide with yellow centers. Saguaro flowers bloom in May and June. These blossoms are clustered near the ends of branches. Saguaro flowers open during cooler desert nights and close again by next midday. The sweetly scented Saguaro flowers attract bees and flies through the blooming season. Saguaros begin their life in the shade of a shrub or small tree. This shade provides shelter from the harsh desert sun.

The cacti grow very slowly, about an inch per year. However, after time, they eventually become giants of the desert. Native to the Sonoran Desert in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, these giant saguaros (pronounced “sah-wah-roh”) are slow-growing and take up to 75 years to develop a side shoot. They are also slow at propagating, and the giant saguaro cactus is a candidate for the endangered species list. At maturity, Saguaros can reach heights of up to 50 feet and can live to be 200 years old. Older Saguaros develop arms which grow out and upwards, creating the familiar cactus shape often associated with the desert.

The Arizona’s state flower appears at the tips of the Saguaro’s trunk or arms each year during the months of May and June. Its unique bloom consists of a three-inch creamy, white blossom with an orange center along with waxy petals. Saguaro flowers are also a major contributor to the food supply of desert animals. Birds, bats and bees pollinate the Saguaro’s flowers, which in turn produce red, seeded fruits that desert birds and animals feed on. The cactus is also home to the desert’s Gila woodpecker, which hollows out holes in the Saguaro’s trunk to form its nest. The Arizona state flower is not only important to the desert wildlife, but it is also a great symbol of the southwest and of Arizona. Images and pictures of the southwest often show the stately Saguaro at sunrise or sunset. Fortunately for the photographers, the Saguaro in bloom, a single cactus may produce up to 200 flowers which bloom over the course of a month.

To sum up, the saguaro blossoms, indigenous to Arizona are truly representatives of the state, and so they are the most appropriate flowers to be declared as the state flower of Arizona.


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