A carpenter bee heads for a side bloom on a saguaro in the Red Hills outside Colossal Cave Mountain Park, Tucson, Ariz., May 20, 2021.

Happy springtime, Tucson!ย ๐ŸŒผ

๐ŸŽต The blooms are back in town, the blooms are back in town. ๐ŸŽต

The stunning saguaro blooms, featuring soft white petals and a pastel yellow center, can now be found sitting atopย saguaros around Tucson.

Saguaro bloomsโ€™ peak blooming season starts around this time and goes through June, according to Grace Stoner, a horticulturist at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Stoner calls the saguaro blooming season โ€œa cultural experience every summer.โ€

The top of a Saguaro begins to bloom along the Agua Caliente Hill Trail, 3700 N. Camino Cantil, in Tucson, Ariz., on May 10, 2020.ย 

Since cacti store water extremely well, the saguaros donโ€™t rely on rainfall as much as other local plants do for a successful blooming season.

โ€œWater shouldn't really affect their blooming, but it is limited by freezes. So if the previous winter has been particularly intense and there have been multiple freeze events, you might have fewer sort of blooms the following summer,โ€ Stoner says. โ€œBut other than that, it's like any other plant just (relying on) daylight hours and temperature.โ€

That means we should have an โ€œaverageโ€ blooming season this year, according to Stoner.ย 

Although saguaros can produce many blooms, the individual flowers have a super short lifespan of one day.

โ€œThey'll have a series of blooms on them for months. It's just each flower itself will open for a period of one day,โ€ Stoner says.

The saguaro blooming season is now through June.

The flowers will typically bloom at dusk or later and exist until the following day when they wither away. Duringย a saguaro's bloom, the flower could be pollinated by many Sonoran Desert creatures including bats, doves and bees.ย 

โ€œOnce a saguaro flower has been pollinated, it matures into fruit that splits open when ripened โ€” revealing bright red pulp,โ€ #ThisIsTucson wrote in 2020. โ€œEach piece of fruit contains about 2,000 small black seeds, according to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.โ€

This year, you can find saguaro blooms at places like Gates Pass, where Stoner says they have been blooming for the last few weeks, and other places like Saguaro National Park East and the Douglas Spring Trail. We've also spotted saguaro blossoms in local neighborhoods.

โ€œGet out and enjoy them,โ€ Stoner says. โ€œBecause (sometimes) you just forget to look for them because it's so hot and you're like, โ€˜I don't want to go outside,โ€™ you know, but it's such a treat to be able to see in this time of the year, so just enjoy them.โ€

For more information about saguaro blooms, check out the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museumโ€™s website.


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Digital Features Reporter

Elvia is a journalism and history graduate from the University of Arizona. She hopes to create stories that show what makes Tucson and its community special. ๐ŸŒต