Nature’s water tower

    Saguaro (sa-WAH-ro) are huge tree-like cacti found only in the Sonora Desert. They may reach 40-60 feet tall and live over a hundred years. White flowers bloom in the spring but only open at night. The Saguaro is pleated, and these expand with water after a rain. The pleats contract as the cactus uses the stored water during dry periods. The NC Zoo's Desert collection contains a legally wild collected (permitted) specimen of this plant.

    Wildlife Facts
    Common Name:
    Scientific Name:
    Carnegiea gigantea
    Southern Arizona
    • White
    • Bees
    • Birds
    • Bats
    Fun Facts:
    • The largest cactus in the US is also the state flower of Arizona.
    • Slow growing cactus, may be 75 years old before it grows an "arm" however; some never develop arms.
    • Food source and drink for Native Americans.
    • Pollinators include bats, insects and birds.
    • White Wing Doves consumes the seeds.
    Plant Type:
    • Cactus/Succulent
    Endangered Status
    Endangered Status
    • Extinct in Wild (EW)
    • Critically Endangered (CR)
    • Endangered (EN)
    • Vulnerable (VU)
    • Near Threatened (NT)
    • Least Concern (LC)
    • Not Evaluated (NE)
    Hardiness Zones

    The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones.

    USDA Hardiness Zones

    9a (20 °F to 25 °F)

    9b (25 °F to 30 °F)

    10a (30 °F to 35 °F)

    10b (35 °F to 40 °F)

    11a (40 °F to 45 °F)

    11b (45 °F to 50 °F)