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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Tucson in Pima County, Arizona — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Seed to Sentinel

Saguaro National Park

 
 
Seed to Sentinel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, October 3, 2007
1. Seed to Sentinel Marker
Inscription. Standing like desert sentinels, mature saguaros start life as tiny black seeds. These seeds usually germinate under nurse plants but only a few survive to become mature saguaros.

Look for young saguaros growing low to the ground. Those that are about the size of your thumb may be several years old. In contrast, tall saguaros with many branching arms can be 175 or 200 years of age. Known as “ancient giants,” these cacti eventually die, decay, and drop woody, internal skeletons to the ground.

During a walk along any park trail you can discover saguaros in their various stages of life and death.

Reproduction
Saguaro reproduction begins during the hottest and driest weeks of the year—late spring and early summer. This is when white-winged doves, bees, and bats travel to blossoms, transporting pollen, fertilizing as they go. Saguaro fruit usually ripens in late June. Each fruit contains as many as 2,000 seeds. Coyotes, javelinas, foxes, rodents, and many birds feed on these seeds and the fruitís lush, red pulp.

(Key to numbers)
1. Seedlings-The newborn saguaro is most vulnerable during the first few years of life. Birds eat seeds and seedlings. People step on them. Thousands of young plants can die because of intense sun or heavy rain.
2. Establishment-New saguaros survive best under shade or

Seed to Sentinel image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, October 3, 2007
2. Seed to Sentinel
“nurse plants” such as palo verdes and mesquites.
3. Youth-Saguaros begin flowering after they grow about eight feet tall.
4. Maturity-When saguaros reach about 75 years of age, they might begin sprouting branches or “arms.”
5. Old Age-The oldest saguaros may weigh more than 7 tons and grow taller than a four-story building.
6. Decline-Severe freezing, wind, lighting, vandalism, and disease are factors that result in saguaro damage or death. Saguaros seldom live more than 200 years.
 
Erected by National Park Service-United States Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 32° 15.246′ N, 111° 11.892′ W. Marker is in Tucson, Arizona, in Pima County. Marker is on N. Kinney Road. Click for map. The marker is located at the visitor center garden in the Tucson Monument District. The garden is located on the left side of the visitor center between the parking lot and wash. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2700 North Kinney Road, Tucson AZ 85743, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 7 other markers are within 16 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. World of the Wash (within shouting distance of this marker); Desert Life (within shouting distance of this marker); The Tucson Plant Materials Center
Seed to Sentinel image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, October 3, 2007
3. Seed to Sentinel
(approx. 11.4 miles away); Desert Laboratory (approx. 11.6 miles away); Mission San Xavier del Bac (approx. 15.1 miles away); a different marker also named Mission San Xavier del Bac (approx. 15.1 miles away); The Grotto at San Xavier del Bac (approx. 15.2 miles away).
 
Categories. Environment
 
Seed to Sentinel image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, June 11, 1996
4. Seed to Sentinel
Sign at the entrance to Saguaro National Park image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, October 3, 2007
5. Sign at the entrance to Saguaro National Park
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 189 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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