Saturday, April 24, 2010

Symbiotic relationship between the Paloverde tree and the Saguaro Cactus!

In the Sonoran Desert, the sahuaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) is commonly associated with canopies of trees and shrubs: so-called nurse plants. One of these nurse plants is the green Palverde tree which is shown in the picture along with a baby Saguaro cactus. The nurse plant provides the young Saguaro with protection against both sun and frost. As the Saquaro gradually grows, it takes more and more of the water and nuitrients from the soil and in the process the nurse plant or tree gradually dies. This particular nurse tree is one of several that I have in my yard. Over the past few years, I have harvested and transplanted a number of the baby Saguaros around my yard, always being careful to mark the side that is south facing so that the Saguaro will not receive a sunburn!

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