• Saguaro Blooms Upclose

    Saguaro

    National Park Arizona

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Crews begin roadside shoulder work on Picture Rocks Road.

    Starting Oct. 20-30 from 9:00am-2:30pm, crews will remove posts from previously illegal pullouts, clean out road culverts and overgrown vegetation. This work will not require any lane closures. Please slow down and be cautious around roadside workers. More »

Human Use of Saguaros

Archeological evidence indicates that the Hohokam people of the Tucson area used the saguaro in their daily lives. The strong, woody ribs were gathered to construct the framework for the walls of their homes.

Additionally, saguaro ribs were used to collect saguaro fruits, which grow high up on the plant. Several ribs were tied together with a cross piece at the end. These long poles were used to knock ripe fruit down from the top of the plants. It would then be gathered to eat. The present day Tohono O’odham are believed to be descendents of the Hohokam. In the O’odham culture, the saguaro is a sacred plant, to be given utmost respect. The calendar is based on the cycles of the saguaro, and includes ceremonies involving the saguaro such as one that involves the making of wine from saguaro fruits.

 
saguaro fruit harvesting

NPS PHOTO

The present day Tohono O'odham continue to gather saguaro fruit just as their ancestors did. They use the sweet fruits to make the ceremonial wine as well as jelly and candies. They also use the high protein saguaro seeds as chicken feed.

Did You Know?

Saguaro Blossoms

The saguaro blossom is the state flower of Arizona. In early summer, the Tohono O’odham people come to Saguaro National Park to harvest the saguaro fruit.