Crested Saguaro Society

Crest Quest Reports

April 8, 2022 Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Report by Joe Orman


To acquire knowledge, one must study;
but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.
                    Marilyn vos Savant

On this outing, I visited Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior with my daughter Heather. The arboretum is an excellent place to acquire knowledge about plants from all over the world. And as always, I observed closely so that I wouldn't miss any cresties!

On the drive to the arboretum, we paused to check up on this roadside crested saguaro which has come a long way since 2009 when it was just starting to crest out:

Once inside the arboretum, we made a beeline for the Wallace Desert Garden:

This section of the arboretum features specimens that were transplanted from the now-closed Wallace Desert Gardens in Scottsdale circa 2017. This was my first visit to the arboretum since this new section opened.

Based on my conversation with one of the docents, this is the only survivor of several crested saguaros that were transplanted:

On one of the paths within the Wallace Desert Garden, we found this crested prickly pear:

In the Cactus and Succulents Garden section of the arboretum, we found this crested cow tongue prickly pear cactus (Opuntia engelmanii var. linguiformis), which is native to central Texas:

In the newly-remodeled greenhouses, we saw three crested specimens. Elkhorn spurge (Euphorbia lactea), native to India:

Dwarf blue myrtle (whortleberry) cactus (Myrtillocactus geometrizans):

... and blue myrtle cactus, aka dinosaur back cactus (Myrtillocactus geometrizans), native to Central Mexico:

The Puya (Puya berteroniana) is an agave-like bromeliad which takes 6-8 years to be mature enough to bloom.

We were very fortunate that the arboretum's Puya was blooming when we visited!

I also found something to add to my Bizarre Backroads web page ... a new Labyrinth:

This labyrinth is the smaller of two in the arboretum:

As we drove out of the arboretum, I paused along the entrance road to photograph this Y-split saguaro skeleton (I believe it was a living saguaro when I visited the arboretum several years previously):

We'd spent a few hours seeing plants from all over the world, and left enriched by the knowledge and wisdom we'd acquired.

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Revised: November 16, 2022