Monday, January 16, 2012

Freeze Damaged Saguaro Cactus

Last winter in Arizona/Tucson there were several days of freezing weather, 19 degrees F.  Some of the tall old Saguaros suffered a lot of damage and are in the process of dying.  
I decided to sketch a study of the damage.

First the summer fruit production is drastically reduced.  Then the outer shell starts peeling away, the arms fall off or leave remnants of the inner structure.  The inner ribs are bare sticks.  The holes that the birds make for nests create a 'boot' inside the cactus and when the outer cactus layers peel away the boot is left hanging.

So sad to see these old giants dying but that is part of life and death in the desert.


  1. Great sketch Teri. If I lived out there I would have a collection of those ribs. I think they are facinating. HCM.

  2. Actually Lisa, lots of people do and use them for things like walking sticks, but it is against the law to just pick them up out of the dessert. I do have two of those boots that we found on private property and my DH has the scars to prove it. Lol

  3. beautiful, nature can be harsh,

  4. So sad to hear. YOu are getting the cold weather we should be having...

  5. Yes, that is sad but I love your painting of the saguaros. My sister used to live & study in Tucson and when I visited her I loved seeing them on the hillsides, so human looking!

  6. Fascinating! I've not spent any time in the desert so I'm always interested to hear about it. Thanks.


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