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  • Writer's pictureMark L. Johnson

50 per 1,000,000

Updated: Aug 2, 2020

Saguaro Fruit & Seeds

Upper Javelina Trail-6/14/20

50 per 1,000,000-According to Ecology of the Saguaro-II, that's how many saguaro seeds make it through the first year of life in the Tucson area. One fruit contains up to 2,500 seeds but they are scrumptious food for birds and animals. Seeds that do find their way to the ground under trees have a better chance at survival. That's why you see many mature saguaros growing in the middle of an established tree.

Then there is freezing, drought and fire that the established baby saguaro has to contend with. The recent Tortolita Fire and Bighorn Fire are real examples of what can happen to saguaro habitat. Bufflegrass has apparently fueled the Bighorn Fire according to an article in today's Arizona Daily Star. Ben Wilder (scientist) is quoted in the article as estimating that about 2,000 saguaros were lost in the Bighorn Fire in an area with stands of bufflegrass. We hope to hike out to the Tortolita Fire area soon to see the extent of the environmental damage.

The protection and survival of the saguaro is another reason why the Tortolita Alliance is so important. We intend to perform more bufflegrass eradication and work with the Town of Marana Parks & Recreation Department, state and federal agencies and scientists to help protect the saguaro in the Tortolita Preserve and surrounding lands.

Here are some other photos from my Upper Javelina Trail hike this morning.

1 Comment

Mairead Boland
Mairead Boland
Jun 14, 2020

Are the seeds destroyed by the fire? Is it worth spreading fruit/seeds on the burnt areas to speed up re-population?

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