Cactus and Cactus Flowers From Phoenix, Arizona

The Sonoran Desert region of Phoenix, Arizona, is lush in comparison to most other deserts. The Sonoran Desert is known for its columnar cacti, but it also supports 2,000 species of plants. Spring-blooming cactus plants produce an incredible floral show that can last for just a day or weeks. Even if it rarely rains, most cacti will save their stored water to flower.

Take a look at these 48 photos of cactus plants and cactus flowers you will find growing in the area around the capital city of Arizona.

  • 01 of 48

    Prickly Pear Cactus Flowers

    Prickly Pear Cactus Blooms Over Death Valley National Park
    Michael Okimoto / Getty Images

    Prickly pears are a subgroup of Opuntia, identified by their wide, flat, branching pads. They are also called nopal cactus or paddle cactus. The pads, flowers, and fruit are edible.

    Continue to 2 of 48 below.
  • 02 of 48

    Prickly Pear Yellow Cactus Flowers

    Close-Up Of Yellow Flowers Blooming On Tree
    Michail Lazaridis / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Most prickly pear cactus have yellow, red, or purple flowers, even among the same species.

    Continue to 3 of 48 below.
  • 03 of 48

    Orange Cactus Flowers

    Orange Cactus Flowers
    Judy Hedding

    This small, barrel-shaped cactus is also known as scarlet or crimson hedgehog cactus. Hedgehog cactus produce blooms of orange, pink, and red flowers.

    Continue to 4 of 48 below.
  • 04 of 48

    Saguaro Cactus Bloom

    Saguaro Flower Buds
    Yvette Cardozo / Getty Images

    The saguaro cactus forms clusters of flowers. The saguaro flower is Arizona's official state flower.

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  • 05 of 48

    Saguaro Cactus Flowers

    Saguaro Cactus Flowers
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Flowers Bees fly in formation around the saguaro flowers. © Judy Hedding

    Bees fly in formation around saguaro flowers. The saguaro flower is about a three-inch-wide cluster of creamy white petals around a dense group of yellow stamens on about a four-inch-long stem. 

    Continue to 6 of 48 below.
  • 06 of 48

    Barrel Cactus Flower

    Barrel Cactus Flower
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Flowers Barrel cactus in bloom. Judy Hedding

    Barrel cactus blooms are usually bright yellow or orange. Pink and red flowers occur but are rarer.

    Continue to 7 of 48 below.
  • 07 of 48

    Aloe Vera Blooms

    Aloe Vera Blooms
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Flowers The Aloe Vera in bloom shows off unusual orange flowers. Picture taken at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. © Judy Hedding

    Aloe vera in bloom has unusual orange flowers. This photo is from Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, Arizona, outside of Phoenix.

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  • 08 of 48

    Blooming Ocotillo With Saguaros

    Blooming Ocotillo
    Pictures of Arizona Desert Plants Blooming Ocotillo in the foreground with many saguaros in the background, taken in Cave Creek Regional Park, just north of Phoenix. © Brian Hankes, used with permission.

    In the foreground is this blooming ocotillo shrub with many saguaros in the background. This photo is from Cave Creek Regional Park, north of Phoenix. The ocotillo, often called a cactus, is not a true cactus. It is a succulent that grows in similar conditions.

    Continue to 9 of 48 below.
  • 09 of 48

    Barrel Cactus and Teddy Bear Cholla

    Barrel Cactus and Teddy Bear Cholla
    Pictures of Arizona Desert Plants Barrel cactus and teddy bear cholla with saguaros and mountains in the background, taken in Cave Creek Regional Park, just north of Phoenix. © Brian Hankes, used with permission.

    Teddy bear cholla (left) and barrel cactus (right) reside with saguaros near the mountainous area of Cave Creek Regional Park.

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  • 10 of 48

    Cactus Blooms in May

    Cactus Blooms in May
    Pictures of Arizona Desert Plants May cactus blooms, taken in Cave Creek Regional Park, just north of Phoenix. © Brian Hankes, used with permission.

    Cactus blooms in May at Cave Creek Regional Park.

    Continue to 11 of 48 below.
  • 11 of 48

    Ocotillo Flower

    Ocotillo Flower
    Pictures of Arizona Desert Flowers The tip of a blooming ocotillo with two saguaros in the background, taken in north Scottsdale looking toward Carefree. © Brian Hankes, used with permission.

    This blooming ocotillo in north Scottsdale faces the town of Carefree, Arizona.

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  • 12 of 48

    Barrel Cactus on Camelback Mountain

    cactus-flowers-lafave01.jpg
    Camelback Mountain in Phoenix View Through a Barrel Cactus Adam LaFave

    This barrel cactus lives on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, a popular spot for visiting photographers. 

    Continue to 13 of 48 below.
  • 13 of 48

    Barrel Cactus on the Cholla Trail

    Barrel Cactus on Camelback Mountain
    Pictures of Arizona Desert Plants Close-up of Barrel Cactus, looking north over the city of Phoenix from the Cholla Trail of Camelback Mountain. Brian Hankes, used with permission.

    This close-up photo of a barrel cactus includes a view north to the city of Phoenix from the Cholla Trail of Camelback Mountain.

    Continue to 14 of 48 below.
  • 14 of 48

    Cactus Forest

    Cactus Forest
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Plants and Cactus Flowers Cactus picture taken at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a Cleistocactus from central and southern South America. © Judy Hedding

    Cleistocactus native to Central and South America are found at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona.

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  • 15 of 48

    Yucca in Bloom

    Blooming Yucca
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Plants and Cactus Flowers Blooming yucca taken at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. © Judy Hedding

    This blooming yucca plant thrives at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona.

    Continue to 16 of 48 below.
  • 16 of 48

    Bee and Saguaro Flower

    Bee and Saguaro Flower
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Flowers Bee and Saguaro Flower. © Brad Lawrence, used with permission

    Cereus giganteus or saguaro produces an average of 295 flowers per season. An average honey bee colony collects 10 ounces of saguaro pollen over the season.

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  • 17 of 48

    May Cactus Blooms

    May Cactus Blooms
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Flowers Cholla cactus blooms in May. Prescott, Arizona. © Tony Perrino, used with permission

    Cholla cactus blooms appear in May in Prescott, Arizona, about 100 miles north of Phoenix.

    Continue to 18 of 48 below.
  • 18 of 48

    Red Prickly Pear

    Red Prickly Pear
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Flowers Prickly pear cactus with red blooms. © Brad Lawrence, used with permission

    You can peel away the purple-red and sometimes green prickly skin of the cactus pear to expose soft, ruby-red or golden colored flesh with tiny, edible seeds.

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  • 19 of 48

    Ocotillo Bloom

    Ocotillo Bloom
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Flowers The bloom of an ocotillo. © Brad Lawrence, used with permission

    These plants look like handheld burning torch lights. The word "ocotillo" means “little torch” in Spanish.

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  • 20 of 48

    Purple Prickly Pear

    Purple Prickly Pear
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Flowers Purple prickly pear cactus with orange-yellow blooms. © Brad Lawrence, used with permission

    A cactus that turns purple when it's exposed to cool and dry conditions. A plant turning purple is a sign that it is responding to environmental stress. Succulents such as agave and some varieties of aloe also become reddish, burgundy, or purple when stressed.

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  • 21 of 48

    Prickly Pear Flower

    Prickly Pear Flower
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Flowers Prickly Pear Flower Photo © Lynne Parrish, used with permission

    The beginning of summer heat must signal prickly pear cactus that it's time to bloom. Flowering begins in mid to late May and can extend into July.

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  • 22 of 48

    Blooming Cactus in Tucson

    Blooming Cactus
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Flowers This picture of a blooming cactus flower was taken in Tucson Arizona. Blooming Cactus Photo © Mike Niemira, used with permission

    This beautiful blooming cactus flower photographed in Tucson, Arizona, is about 100 miles southeast of Phoenix.

    Continue to 23 of 48 below.
  • 23 of 48

    Ocotillo Blooms

    Ocotillo Blooms
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Flowers Ocotillo blooms. © Len Nowak, used with permission

    Ocotillo plants bloom once in the spring from March through June. Hummingbirds are common pollinators for these plants.

    Continue to 24 of 48 below.
  • 24 of 48

    Agave

    agave
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Plants and Cactus Flowers An agave, taken out in the desert east of the Sunset Point Rest Area. © Paul Brochner, used with permission.

    This agave plant thrives in the desert of the Sunset Point Rest Area in Black Canyon City about 20 miles north of Phoenix.

    Continue to 25 of 48 below.
  • 25 of 48

    Ocotillo in Bloom

    Ocotillo in Bloom
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Plants and Cactus Flowers Ocotillo in Bloom. From the photographer: "Taken at my home at the base of the Superstition Mountain, Apache Junction, 4-22-09." © Patricia J. Redic, used with permission.

    This ocotillo blooms on Superstition Mountain in Apache Junction, 30 miles east of Phoenix.

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  • 26 of 48

    Cactus at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum

    Cactus in Bloom
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Plants and Cactus Flowers Taken at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. © Bob Czzowitz, used with permission.

    This beautiful cactus bloom photographed at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, Arizona, is one of Arizona's state parks.

    Continue to 27 of 48 below.
  • 27 of 48

    Organ Pipe Cactus Flower

    Organ Pipe Cactus Flower
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Plants and Cactus Flowers From the photographer: "This was taken in the backyard of our North Scottsdale area home. This Organ Pipe Cactus did not bloom last year. The bloom measures 8" across." Kassie Sheerin, used with permission.

    This large white bloom belongs to an organ pipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi). The flower measures 8 inches across.

    Continue to 28 of 48 below.
  • 28 of 48

    Orange Cactus Flower

    Orange cactus flower
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Plants and Cactus Flowers Orange cactus flower, photographed in Mesa, AZ. © Ruth Jolly, used with permission.

    This orange cactus flower photographed in Mesa, Arizona, is 20 miles east of Phoenix.

    Continue to 29 of 48 below.
  • 29 of 48

    Blooming Barrel Cactus

    Blooming Barrel Cactus
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Plants and Cactus Flowers Photo taken at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, March. Blooming Cactus Picture © Diane Simon, used with permission.

    Barrel cactus in bloom at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

    Continue to 30 of 48 below.
  • 30 of 48

    Blooming Prickly Pear Cactus

    Blooming Prickly Pear Cactus
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Plants and Cactus Flowers Photo taken at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, March. Blooming Cactus Picture © Diane Simon, used with permission.

    The Desert Botanical Garden features many types of blooming prickly pear cactus.

    Continue to 31 of 48 below.
  • 31 of 48

    Hedgehog Cactus Flower

    Hedge Hog Cactus Flower
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Flowers Photo, McDowell Mountains. © Brad Lawrence, used with permission

    This flowering hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii) lives in the desert region of the McDowell Mountains in Phoenix.

    Continue to 32 of 48 below.
  • 32 of 48

    Pincushion Cactus in Bloom

    Early blooming pincushion cactus
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Flowers Early blooming pincushion cactus. Cactus Picture © stellakathryn, used with permission

    The pincushion cactus is an early bloomer, usually right after the first summer rain. This cactus flower thrives at a water trail off of the Apache Trail (Highway 88).

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  • 33 of 48

    Colorful Cactus Flowers

    Cactus Blooms
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Blooms Cactus blooms near the Salt River in Phoenix. © Cindy Bilsing, used with permission

    Cactus flowers bloom near the Salt River in Phoenix.

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  • 34 of 48

    Cholla Cactus Flowers

    Cholla Cactus Flowers
    Pictures of Arizona Cactus Flowers Cholla Cactus Flowers in the Cave Creek Recreational Area. Brad Lawrence, used with permission

    The beautiful orange or pink flowers of cholla cactus are most visible in the late afternoon of the hotter months (May to July) at Cave Creek Recreational Area.

    Continue to 35 of 48 below.
  • 35 of 48

    Beautiful Spring Blooms

    May Flowers in Scottsdale, Arizona
    May Flowers in Scottsdale, Arizona From the photographer: "I took this photo in early May 2010 on the grounds of the Marriott Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, during a reunion with a much-valued friend from childhood." © Dovie Wylie, used with permission.

    The Marriott Camelback Inn in Scottsdale features some beautiful cactus blooms in spring.

    Continue to 36 of 48 below.
  • 36 of 48

    Prickly Pear Flower With Bee

    Prickly Pear Flower With Bee
    Spring Cactus Flowers in Phoenix Prickly Pear Flower With Bee in northeast Phoenix, AZ. © Sheryl Huss Walker, used with permission

    This prickly pear flower summons a bee in northeast Phoenix.

    Continue to 37 of 48 below.
  • 37 of 48

    Engelmann’s Hedgehog

    Springtime in Phoenix
    Springtime in Phoenix Engelmann’s Hedgehog in bloom Sheryl Huss Walker, used with permission

    This Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus is in bloom with bright pink flowers.

    Continue to 38 of 48 below.
  • 38 of 48

    Cardon Grande Blossoms

    Cardon Grande Blossoms
    Huge White Cactus Flowers Bloom in Spring Gene Bishop, used with permission.

    The horticulturalists at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix think this cactus is a hybrid of the cardon grande (Echinopsis terscheckii) and Echinopsis tacaquirensis, a plant native to Bolivia.

    Continue to 39 of 48 below.
  • 39 of 48

    Argentine Giant Cactus Starts Blooming

    Argentine Giant cactus
    Argentine Giant Brad Lawrence, used with permission

    This Argentine giant (Echinopsis candicans) is getting ready to open it's gorgeous, huge, yellowish-white blooms. Blooms typically last for only one or two days.

    Continue to 40 of 48 below.
  • 40 of 48

    Argentine Giant Cactus in Bloom

    Argentine Giant Cactus
    Huge White Cactus Flowers Bloom in Spring Dave Wilcox, used with permission.

    This Argentine giant is in bloom in Sun Lakes, Arizona, a community 25 miles south of Phoenix.

    Continue to 41 of 48 below.
  • 41 of 48

    Springtime Argentine Giant Blooms

    Argentine Giant Cactus Arizona
    Argentine Giant in Sun City, Arizona Joyce Dudley, used with permission

    The beautiful, huge blooms on the Argentine giant (Echinopsis candicans) usually bloom in March through May in the Sonoran desert area.

    Continue to 42 of 48 below.
  • 42 of 48

    Echinopsis Candicans

    Argentine Giant (Echinopsis candicans)
    Amazing Blooms of the Argentine Giant Argentine Giant (Echinopsis candicans) Terry Cowan, used with permission

    This Argentine giant is in full bloom in Apache Junction. This plant, cultivated from a cutting, was never watered, never fertilized. Four years later, it produced more than 120 blossoms over 22 days.

    Continue to 43 of 48 below.
  • 43 of 48

    Blooms on the Trail

    Gateway Trail in Scottsdale
    Scottsdale, Arizona Cactus blooms at Gateway Trail in Scottsdale, AZ. © Michelle Grieg, used with permission

    Cactus blooms photographed from the Gateway Trail in Scottsdale.

    Continue to 44 of 48 below.
  • 44 of 48

    Blooms in Scottsdale

    Gateway Trail in Scottsdale
    Scottsdale, Arizona Cactus blooms at Gateway Trail in Scottsdale, AZ. © Michelle Grieg, used with permission

    These cactus blooms flowered along the Gateway Trail within the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

    Continue to 45 of 48 below.
  • 45 of 48

    Blooms at the Lake

    Cactus Blooms at Canyon Lake in Arizona
    Cactus blooms at Canyon lake near Tortilla Flat, AZ Kel Kerschen , used with permission

    These cactus plants are in bloom at Canyon Lake near Tortilla Flat, one of the last surviving stagecoach stops along the Apache Trail. 

    Continue to 46 of 48 below.
  • 46 of 48

    Spinystar

    Cactus Blooms in Salome Arizona
    Cactus Blooms in Salome Arizona Steve White, used with permission

    This cactus flower is a spinystar (Escobaria vivipara) in Salome in La Paz County in eastern Arizona.

    Continue to 47 of 48 below.
  • 47 of 48

    Cereus Cactus Bloom

    Cereus night bloomer
    A Cereus night bloomer Tom Bianco, used with permission

    Night-blooming cereus is the common name for this type of cactus that blooms at night. During the day, its flowers remain closed.

    Continue to 48 of 48 below.
  • 48 of 48

    Pink Cereus

    cactus flower
    A Night Bloomer Hot Pink Cactus Flower © Philip Contreras, used with permission

    This pink cereus blooms in North Phoenix.