Bottled water no longer for sale in Saguaro National Park
Water bottle filling stations have been installed at both visitor centers and the Rincon Mountain District bike ramada for visitors to refill their reusable water bottles. A variety of BPA-free waterbottles are available inside the visitor centers. More »
Tucson Mountain District (west) road re-opened
The Golden Gate Road has been re-opened north of Sendero-Esperanza and is is now rated for high clearance vehicles due to the rough nature of the terrain. More »
Why saguaros have pleats
Because the majority of a saguaro is made up of water, an adult plant may weigh 6 tons or more. This tremendous weight is supported by a circular skeleton of inter-connected, woody ribs. The number of ribs inside the plant correspond to the number of pleats on the outside of the plant. As the saguaro grows, the ribs will occasionally fork and the corresponding pleat will also fork at the same place.
Sometimes saguaros have the chance to soak up a larger than usual amount of water - such as after a large summer rainstorm. The ground can become very soft after such a storm and with the added weight of the new water, the heavy cactus sometimes fall over or lose an arm.
Layers of a saguaro:
epidermis (green part)
cortex or pulp
ribs (with corresponding pleat on surface)
pith (inside the ribs)
Did You Know?
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...