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7 things you might not know about the Saguaro Cactus
The saguaro cactus can only be found in the Sonoran Desert.
Saguaros grow very slowly. A young cactus may only grow 1 to 1.5 inches in its first eight years, while an adult saguaro can reach 60 feet in height. The amount of available water impacts their growth.
Saguaros that grow at high altitudes tend to congregate on warm, south-facing slopes. Low temperatures and frost can kill a saguaro, so they are not usually found above 4,000 feet.
Saguaros have pleats that allow them to expand when they drink water (like an accordion) and contract as they use up their water supply. The number of woody ribs inside the saguaro corresponds to the number of pleats it has on the outside.
Saguaros get very heavy when they are fully hydrated. Some adult saguaros can weigh more than 4 tons.
A saguaro starts to flower around 35 years and produces its first arm around 50 years of age. At 125 years, a saguaro is generally considered an adult. The lifespan of the saguaro is 150 to 200 years.
Although rare, the cells of saguaro cacti will sometimes mutate to form fan-shaped crests in convoluted patterns. Crests are generally found at the top of the main stem.