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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

A Unique Legacy


The Saguaro Cactus stands sentinel over the desert for longer than any of us, often for over 150 years so when one finally reaches the end of it's life it is a sad time indeed. Death is not immediately apparent. Usually a Saguaro will continue to look the same for up to three years as death takes a hold.


One of the Saguaro Cacti in our yard died a couple of years ago and has been slowly returning to the earth from which it grew.


What remains stands as a monument to this magnificent plant with arms raised to salute the setting sun. Often in the evenings we walk up the yard and sit next to the ancient structure and watch the sun dip below the mountains. Amongst the vegetation rubble at the base of the bones of the cacti we spotted something very sought after in the West - cactus boots!


In life the Saguaro plays host to numerous species of birds that gouge out nesting cavities in the cactus' limbs. In order to protect itself the cactus develops a 'boot' inside the cavity which hardens into an amazing and utterly unique structure. As the cactus died away these boots fell to the ground, where we found them. The two shown above are the most common type of shapes found but we found two others that were even more special.


One bowl and one pot! Aren't they amazing?
Whilst I would far rather have the huge Saguaro towering over me, if I have to loose one I am so grateful for these truly unique gifts that it has left behind.

Nature Notes hosted by Michelle at Rambling Woods.

10 comments:

Libby Rodriguez said...

Wow! What a great post and great photos! First of all, I had NO IDEA they lived that long. The pictures are haunting - almost human, or scarecrow-like. I love that they leave something behind too.

Rambling Woods said...

I didn't know anything about them. Wow that is long lived and had no idea about the boots..How cool and so interesting for Nature Notes.. Thank you Celeste...Michelle

EG CameraGirl said...

Dead or alive, saguaro cacti are magnificent! I love your photos!

eileeninmd said...

The saguaro cacti are beautiful, thanks for the info and the great post.

Nature Rambles said...

That's fascinating! I had no idea about the boots! Loved your post!

Celeste said...

Thanks Libby. They are incredibly evocative structures in both life and death.

Celeste said...

Thanks Michelle, nature is so cool isn't it? That is why we find it so constantly fascinating :)

Celeste said...

Thanks EGCameraGirl, I totally agree, they are!

Celeste said...

Thanks eileeninmd :) Have a great week.

Celeste said...

The boots are a well kept secret Nature Rambles!

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