Cacti of the Monument
There are 28 different species of cacti in the monument, ranging from the giant saguaro to the miniature pincushion. These cacti are all highly adapted to survive in the dry and unpredictable desert. They use spines for protection and shade, thick skin and pulp to preserve water, unique pathways of photosynthesis at night, and hidden under their skin are delicate to sturdy wooden frames holding them together.
Day or night, the summer display of many different cactus blooms is one of the desert's flashiest spectacles, as the brilliant flowers of yellow, red, white, and pink bring color to the landscape. It is a show upstaged only by the springtime explosions of gold poppies, blue lupines, pink owl clover, and other annuals after a wet winter.
Andy Fisher, NPS photo
The more common cacti species found within Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument include:
Did You Know?
Kangaroo Rats are masters at desert survival. They get all the moisture they need from the seeds and plants they eat and don't need to drink any water. Their kidneys are so powerful at recycling the moisture they do get from plants and seeds, they have been known to urinate crystals. More...