Flowering Cardon Cactus – Baja California’s Saguaro Look-Alike

Cardon Cactus in Bloom © 2014 Bo Mackison

Cardon Cactus in Bloom © 2014 Bo Mackison

Not a saguaro , but a relative!

The giant cardon cactus dominates many of the deserts of Baja California and the coastal region of the state of Sonora in Mexico. It is closely related to the saguaro of Arizona and Sonora, but cannot tolerate cold (unless carefully protected) so these two giant cacti occupy different geographical regions.

This specimen was in bloom at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix on a visit in March, and it was my lucky day. It was the first of the year’s blooms.



About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Gandalf says:

    Pretty awesome. The flowers look similar to the Saguharo, but not the bud.

  2. Fascinating. I’ve never seen one of these blooming – lucky you!

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