Saguaro National Park, USA

Saguaro National Park, USA

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The iconic Saguaro cactus is the very embodiment of the Southwest, and indeed, the desert itself. The unique adaptations that vegetation comes up with for desert survival make some of the most interesting, unusual, and beautiful plants in the country. Wildflowers such as striking gold poppies and desert marigolds, red and pink penstemons, purple lupines, and orange globe mallows add welcome splashes of color. Seeing a blooming cactus is a special treat: ocotillos, chollas, and prickly pears all have vibrant, fragrant blossoms, as of course do the saguaros themselves. Saguaro National Park is split into two sections—the Tucson Mountain District sits west; the Rincon Mountain District sits east; and the city of Tucson and its 1-million residents sits in between the two. While the two sides of the park bare the same name and share likeness in desert landscape, they are quite different in terms of nuance.

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credit: Max Goldberg

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