Ironwood National Monument, Arizona
Crest-like growth forms on the tops of some saguaros are a relatively rare, yet can be found scattered around randomly in the Sonoran Desert. They are thought to be the result of genetic mutations or possible lightning strikes. The type of odd growth pictured here is much less common. This is certainly the only “bud forest” on a saguaro I’ve seen, and the only one location I’ve ever seen them documented online. But there are several in a small area surrounding the one pictured here. I read online that it’s a real mystery as to why they grow that way they do at this one location. A mystery, sure, but turning around in the opposite direction and seeing a tall mountain of old mine tailings suggests some possible explanations I think.