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    Saguaro

    National Park Arizona

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  • Rincon Mountain District Backcountry Closures Due to Wildland Fire Activity

    Due to fire activity and for the safety of hikers and campers, some trail and campground closures have been enacted. All off-trail areas within Saguaro National Park east of Douglas Spring Trail and Manning Camp Trails are also closed. More »

  • Short Term Trail Closures for Buffelgrass Treatment

    Between August 19 and August 29, isolated trails in both districts may be closed for a short duration as aerial treatment of invasive buffelgrass is happening in that area. Closures will be posted at each trail and announced on facebook daily. 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

The average life span of a saguaro cactus is 150 years, but some plants may live more than 200 years. A 20 foot tall saguaro weighs approximately 1 ton (2000 pounds).