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Large, candelabra-shaped, branched cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) native to Mexico, Arizona, and California. Slow-growing at first, mature saguaros may eventually reach 50 ft (15 m) in height. They bloom for the first time when 50–75 years old. They may die at 150–200 years (at a weight of up to 10 tons, or 9,000 kg), most commonly by being uprooted by wind or washouts. Shallow, wide-ranging roots gather moisture from a large area of desert to support the weighty top growth. The white, night-blooming flowers, which remain open into the next day, are the Arizona state flower. The red fruits have been an important food of American Indians.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on saguaro, visit Britannica.com.