Monday, June 8, 2009

Saguaro Fruit Ripen


Happy Cactus Monday
!



Many of the saguaro flowers have dried and ripe fruit are starting to split open revealing their red color.



A few white blossoms are still lingering on some cacti. Here's the crested saguaro on the Nature Loop trail.
Open saguaro fruit resemble red flowers:
The air smells sweet and various birds feast on the fruit all day long.
White-winged Dove

Gila Woodpecker

House Finches

House Sparrows

Traditionally, the fruit is picked off the tops of the cacti with long poles made of saguaro ribs.
Image by David Bygott (Kibuyu)
After the fruit is boiled for syrup, the seeds and pulp are spread out to dry in the sun.
Image by Calc-tufa

Each fruit has about 2000 tiny black poppy like seeds inside. Some say saguaro fruit tastes like figs with a hint of strawberry flavor. Saguaro fruit were once an important food source for the Tohono O'odham (Papago) Native Americans. Now they're mostly enjoyed by birds and bats. Chris and I plan to visit the canyon in the evening to see if we can observe bats feeding on the saguaro fruits.

For more Cactus Monday posts, visit Teri's Painted Daisies.

22 comments:

Betsy from Tennessee said...

What an interesting post, Diane. I had no idea the flowers turned into fruit. I learn so much from you. I'm sure the birds love that fruit. Hope you do get some pictures of the bats eating it...

Keep us posted.
Hugs,
Betsy

marianne said...

I really enjoyed this post!
Such interesting info and gorgeous flowers!
Thanks!

Happy Cactus Monday!

Lance said...

I love the cactus pictures! And this is so informative too - I never knew there was fruit on a cactus.

deedee said...

Have you ever tried the fruit? Just curious - I haven't.

Diane C. said...

Hi Deedee, I haven't tasted any saguaro fruit, but I understand it's a lot sweeter than prickly pear fruit.

Margaret Ann said...

Outstanding photos again! I have never seen the open fruit of the saguaro...what a brilliant color. Thanks for another delightful cactus Monday post! :) HCM!

Icy BC said...

This was a beautiful post, Diane! The pictures are gorgeous, and the information you've provided is a joy to learn!

Jen said...

Beautiful! The red is stunning on the cactus.
We saw the whit flowers while there couple or weeks ago. I will have to try the saguaro fruit-I like sweets.

Lindy MacDuff said...

Always enjoy learning about our beautiful Sonoran Desert. I'll be sitting out on the patio tonight and watching the bats, to see if they dine on our neighbor's saguaro flower/fruit.

Thanks for identifying my (desert spiny)lizard. :)

Teri C said...

These photos are just FABULOUS!! I have never seen the fruit either and really, not even such great photos. I always love your images and information!! Thank you.

HCM!!

Phoenix C. said...

I didn't know the fruit were harvested! The photos are gorgeous. I never cease to be amazed by those wonderful Saguaro shapes, and the way the lines all run parallel and then converge.

Prospero said...

It was very interesting to see how the fruit is picked and dried in the sun. I think that cactus as a food resource is, sadly, far under-utilized. I always enjoy reading about ethnobotanical uses of native plants worldwide.

Gaelyn said...

Great shots. Really like that crested saguaro. Lucky birds. I love that sweet fruit. Watching the bats would be fun.

betchai said...

stunning pictures, the crested saguaro looks like a different cactus, it is so unique, though the saguaro for me is also very unique, i love them. love also those birds perched on top of the saguaro.

Julie said...

What beautiful photos...certainly something you can only see out west! I am so jealous!!! LOL! Happy Cactus MOnday (late). Those fruits burst open really are pretty!

Anne Lyken-Garner said...

I have never seen these before. What remarkable pictures.

deepazartz said...

I am always amazed at the N number of cacti photos that you have and the info on them...really wonderful!!!

HCM, Diane!

Lynn said...

These photos are absoulutely amazingly beautiful. I enjoyed the information too. thanks. Wow.

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Kevin said...

I never realized there was a commercial use for the suguaro. I'll have to take a look next time I'm down.

Sure would be cool to see some photos of the bats!

soulbrush said...

my envy knows no bounds, i wish i could see these every day...sigh...what beauty. happy very late cactus monday fellow cactuteer.

Vickie said...

These saquaro are both beautiful and so interesting! I do hope you get to see bats feeding on them. What fun.