In my experience to come across the denuded ribs of an expired Saguaro cactus is to find a single one among thousands of flourishing, many-armed giants. Fourteen years ago, when this photograph was taken March 2008, a drought hung over Arizona since 1994, fourteen years. One documented effect of twenty-eight drought years is fewer young saguaro now survive into adulthood, the number of standing specimens is slowly decreasing.
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Here we are below the rim of Peter’s Mesa of the Superstition Wilderness. Blue Dicks flourish as the feet of the long-expired giant, the wildflowers grow from corms long used as food by Native Americans. Behind is a large stand of Prickly Pear cactus whose fruit, called tunas, is another food source.
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