• Saguaro Blooms Upclose

    Saguaro

    National Park Arizona

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Rincon Mountain District Backcountry Closures Due to Deer Head Fire

    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 »

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?

Snow on the spines of a Saguaro Cactus

Even though the Sonoran Desert is known as very hot and dry place, snow sometimes falls and accumulates on the desert floor of Saguaro National Park. When it does it turns the desert into a winter wonderland. More...