Ah, Saguaro Fruit!
In general, when you see those beautiful white flowers on the Saguaro Cactus in April, you can be assured that the bright red color shown is more than just beautiful! When you see the bright red color, you can also be assured that the Monsoon season is just a couple of months away. (June 15th this the official date for the Monsoon season.)
The produce is very much needed in the Sonoran desert as it helps supply food to the desert animals at a time when they need it most. The summer months are dry and very hot and the Saguaro Cacti that provide the produce are just what many of the wildlife in Arizona depend on to survive.
There Are Plenty Of Saguaro Cactus Fruit Facts So Let’s Get Started…
The Sonoran Fruit can be harvested in June on into July and if you have never tried the fruit, you should take advantage of the opportunity if it shows itself!
It takes for this cactus to grow fruit. In fact, this cactus is not known for bearing anything including the flowers until they reach eight to 10 feet in height.
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As to the age of just how old this desert icon has to be before it shows signs of bearing fruit, some are as young as 25 years of age, while others are as old 75 years upwards to even 100 years old, so it all depends. In the wild, the age that this specific cactus bears fruit range anywhere from about 30-50 years old. The season for this delicious treat typically runs until July. Generally speaking, you will see the Saguaros start budding their flowers in April.
May is when you will see them bloom and in June is when you will see the produce. In fact, there may be times when you can actually see the Saguaro Cactus blossom in other months. I have heard them blossoming in December but I personally have not seen it... then again, I have not lived here my entire life.
The fruit grows on the top of the cactus and also on the tips of the arms. While not common, there is also the possibility of flowers showing up on the main stem of this cactus.
The harvest from this cactus begins in the night-time hours when the flowers are first pollinated by the bats. During the daytime hours, the flowers are pollinated by the birds and the bees. After the flowers have been pollinated they mature into bright red produce. When it ripens you will see it begin to split open and reveal its juicy red pulp. Within each fruit, there can be up to 2000 small black seeds contained within.
And let me tell you, the fruit is delicious! Not only is it delicious, it is very sweet! I can tell you from personal experience that when I first tried it I was actually quite surprised as to just how sweet it was.
I have been told that The O'odham tribes have long been associated with these Saguaros and it is no wonder with all the healthy beneficial properties that is has, that this is true.
If you are going to harvest this cactus, it is best to catch the ripened fruit before it falls on the ground because if you are able to catch it before it falls, you will prevent it from bursting. It will take you some time to clean out if debris gets into the Saguaro fruit which is why if you can prevent it from hitting the ground, you'll be much better off. :) Some people will use a net or bucket of some sort.
In my opinion, harvesting this Sonoran produce is well worth the effort. Mind you, there is really not that much to it, as long as you have a long enough tool such as a pool skimmer, to knock the fruit down.