The saguaro in bloom

Here in northern California, we’ve had some early rain — not very often and not a lot, but enough to turn the golden hillsides to bright new green. And enough to convince the cacti and succulents in Stanford’s Arizona Garden that Their Time Has Come, so they’re bursting with new growth and breaking out in flowers. Notably, a big ol’ saguaro cactus has thrown out huge creamy blossoms, much like these in this photo from the net:

(#1) The state flower of AZ; NM claims the yucca

Meanwhile, the saguaro serves as an anthromorphic symbol — a man with both arms in the air — and a phallic symbol (an interpretation encouraged by the fact that the cactus is, oh dear, prickly).

Earlier on this blog, a posting of 6/19/17, “Sales talk”, featuring saguaros as the cartoon icon of the Southwestern deserts (with a photo of Carnegiea gigantea in #2).

Since the saguaro’s native lands include the Sonoran deserts, the plant also serves as a symbol of Mexico, sometimes presented as a stereotype of the Mexican man — even in that country’s tourism ads:

(#2) Come to Mexico and enjoy the company of Saguaro Man

Saguaro Man comes with sombrero, serape, and guitar (missing only maracas). As a plant, he has characteristic (though small) flowers, of the red rather than the cream variety — but, most notably, he lacks the nasty thorns of real-life saguaros. Saguaro Man is not at all prickly, he’s a good guy, friendly and welcoming.

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