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.
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Prickly Pear Cactus Flowers
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.
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Prickly Pear Yellow Cactus Flowers
Most prickly pear cactus have yellow, red, or purple flowers, even among the same species.Continue to 3 of 48 below.
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Orange Cactus Flowers
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.
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Saguaro Cactus BloomContinue to 5 of 48 below.
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Saguaro Cactus Flowers
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.
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Barrel Cactus Flower
Barrel cactus blooms are usually bright yellow or orange. Pink and red flowers occur but are rarer.Continue to 7 of 48 below.
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Aloe Vera Blooms
Aloe vera in bloom has unusual orange flowers. This photo is from Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, Arizona, outside of Phoenix.Continue to 8 of 48 below.
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Blooming Ocotillo With Saguaros
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.
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Barrel Cactus and Teddy Bear Cholla
Teddy bear cholla (left) and barrel cactus (right) reside with saguaros near the mountainous area of Cave Creek Regional Park.Continue to 10 of 48 below.
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Cactus Blooms in May
Cactus blooms in May at Cave Creek Regional Park.Continue to 11 of 48 below.
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This blooming ocotillo in north Scottsdale faces the town of Carefree, Arizona.Continue to 12 of 48 below.
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Barrel Cactus on Camelback Mountain
This barrel cactus lives on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, a popular spot for visiting photographers.Continue to 13 of 48 below.
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Barrel Cactus on the Cholla Trail
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.
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Cleistocactus native to Central and South America are found at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona.Continue to 15 of 48 below.
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Yucca in Bloom
This blooming yucca plant thrives at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona.Continue to 16 of 48 below.
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Bee and Saguaro Flower
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.Continue to 17 of 48 below.
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May Cactus Blooms
Cholla cactus blooms appear in May in Prescott, Arizona, about 100 miles north of Phoenix.Continue to 18 of 48 below.
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Red Prickly Pear
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.Continue to 19 of 48 below.
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These plants look like handheld burning torch lights. The word "ocotillo" means “little torch” in Spanish.Continue to 20 of 48 below.
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Purple Prickly Pear
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.Continue to 21 of 48 below.
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Prickly Pear Flower
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.Continue to 22 of 48 below.
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Blooming Cactus in Tucson
This beautiful blooming cactus flower photographed in Tucson, Arizona, is about 100 miles southeast of Phoenix.Continue to 23 of 48 below.
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Ocotillo plants bloom once in the spring from March through June. Hummingbirds are common pollinators for these plants.Continue to 24 of 48 below.
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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.
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Ocotillo in Bloom
This ocotillo blooms on Superstition Mountain in Apache Junction, 30 miles east of Phoenix.Continue to 26 of 48 below.
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Cactus at the Boyce Thompson ArboretumContinue to 27 of 48 below.
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Organ Pipe Cactus Flower
This large white bloom belongs to an organ pipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi). The flower measures 8 inches across.Continue to 28 of 48 below.
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Orange Cactus Flower
This orange cactus flower photographed in Mesa, Arizona, is 20 miles east of Phoenix.Continue to 29 of 48 below.
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Blooming Barrel Cactus
Barrel cactus in bloom at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.Continue to 30 of 48 below.
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Blooming Prickly Pear Cactus
The Desert Botanical Garden features many types of blooming prickly pear cactus.Continue to 31 of 48 below.
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Hedgehog Cactus Flower
This flowering hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii) lives in the desert region of the McDowell Mountains in Phoenix.Continue to 32 of 48 below.
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Pincushion Cactus in Bloom
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).Continue to 33 of 48 below.
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Colorful Cactus Flowers
Cactus flowers bloom near the Salt River in Phoenix.Continue to 34 of 48 below.
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Cholla Cactus Flowers
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.
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Beautiful Spring Blooms
The Marriott Camelback Inn in Scottsdale features some beautiful cactus blooms in spring.Continue to 36 of 48 below.
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Prickly Pear Flower With Bee
This prickly pear flower summons a bee in northeast Phoenix.Continue to 37 of 48 below.
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This Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus is in bloom with bright pink flowers.Continue to 38 of 48 below.
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Cardon Grande Blossoms
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.
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Argentine Giant Cactus Starts Blooming
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.
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Argentine Giant Cactus in Bloom
This Argentine giant is in bloom in Sun Lakes, Arizona, a community 25 miles south of Phoenix.Continue to 41 of 48 below.
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Springtime Argentine Giant Blooms
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.
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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.
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Blooms on the Trail
Cactus blooms photographed from the Gateway Trail in Scottsdale.Continue to 44 of 48 below.
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Blooms in Scottsdale
These cactus blooms flowered along the Gateway Trail within the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve.Continue to 45 of 48 below.
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Blooms at the Lake
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.
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This cactus flower is a spinystar (Escobaria vivipara) in Salome in La Paz County in eastern Arizona.Continue to 47 of 48 below.
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Cereus Cactus Bloom
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.
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This pink cereus blooms in North Phoenix.