Arizona Springtime Grows in the Sonoran Desert
Arizona is home to the Sonoran Desert and your very own Heather Says.
The Sonoran is one of the largest and hottest deserts in all of North America. I have lived in central Arizona my entire life and truly love the desert. She's a harsh temptress-- the Sonoran. Where I see beauty, most people might see 10 different ways to get seriously injured. It's true. Venomous creatures, harsh temperatures, and dangerous plants shouldn't be taken lightly. I think the Arizona desert is beautiful all year long, but she's at her prettiest in spring.
What's springtime like in the Desert?
Most people joke that spring and autumn don't come to the Arizona desert, and for good reason. Living here is mostly highlighted by mild winters and scorching summers. Spring and autumn, if they exist, are really just a few weeks that punctuate the transition from summer to winter and summer again. At least it feels this way. The weather is "nice enough" to open the windows in your house. Summer has come early and stayed late many times. We've had many HOT Easters and Halloweens, if that gives you an idea.
While we don't experience the beautiful fall foliage where I live in Arizona (other parts of AZ do), we do get to experience springtime in bloom. The rest of the year might leave the Arizona desert looking like a wasteland, but our state motto Ditat Deus (“God Enriches”) makes perfect sense in the spring. From March-June, the Arizona desert is bursting with color and looking her loveliest. While we get very little annual rainfall (which is what classifies a desert as a, well, desert), the cactus stores its water and it doesn't take much for the wildflowers to bloom in the spring.
Facts about the Arizona Desert
10 fast facts
- Rainfall averages for Arizona range from less than three inches in the deserts to more than 30 inches per year in the mountains.
- If you cut down a protected species of cactus in Arizona, you could spend more than a year in prison.
- Thirteen species of rattlesnakes live in Arizona, more species than in any other state.
- The Saguaro cactus is the largest cactus found in the U.S. It can grow as high as a five-story building and is native to the Sonoran Desert.
- Arizona grows enough cotton each year to make more than one pair of jeans for every person in the United States.
- The saguaro cactus blossom is the official state flower. The white flower blooms in May and June, opening in the middle of the night and closing the next day—surviving only about 18 hours for pollination.
- The Sonoran Desert is the most biologically diverse desert in North America.
- A saguaro cactus can store up to nine tons of water.
- Desert marigold either fresh or dried, are poisonous to goats and sheep, but not to cattle or horses.
- With the right growing conditions, it is estimated that saguaros can live to be as much as 150-200 years old.
Heather Says: Springtime in the Sonoran desert is certainly beautiful. If you ever get to visit and take your own pictures, please be careful. Cactus are dangerous, no matter how careful you are. Cholla are nicknamed "jumping cactus" for a reason. Springtime is also when the rattlesnakes start to come out, so exercise caution. You also can't come to Arizona without having someone take your picture next to a saguaro (pronounced "sue-are-oh"). They only grow in the Sonoran desert of Arizona and Mexico. If you forget, it'll be here waiting for you. Saguaros don't grow arms until they are about 50 years old and can live to be 200. We took roadtrips all over the United States when I was a child. As soon as I saw a saguaro, I knew we were home.