Not being a frequent visitor to the Sonoran desert, when I first spied a downed and dead saguaro cactus in Saguaro National Park, I really wasn't sure what to make out of the bundle of "sticks." Only after I spied an upright bundle did I put the pieces together in my mind.
The accompanying photo was taken from the parking lot of the park's Red Hills Visitor Center in the Tuscon Mountain District. Field guides and websites provided some interesting information to accompany this "skeleton":
Estimated number of seeds a 150-200 year-old saguaro will produce during its lifetime.
Estimated number of individual sagauro cactus plants in the park.
Weight, in pounds, of a large, well-hydrated saguaro, which is typically 85 percent water.
Years it could take a saguaro to reach six feet in height under the best of growing conditions.
Number of seeds, out of the 40 million a mature saguaro might produce over its lifetime, that germinate and grow to maturity.
* The saguaro is the largest cactus in the United States.
* Those "ribs" are what's left after the pulp from a dead saguaro vanishes. They've been used for fencing and furniture, among other things.