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.
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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