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Saguaros blossoming ahead of schedule

PHOENIX — A wet fall and warm winter and spring has Arizona saguaros blooming about two weeks ahead of usual at Saguaro National Park west of Tucson and other locations around the city.

“The saguaro has the bouquet of white blossoms,” said Andy Fisher with the National Park Service. “Each blossom is about the size of a closed fist on the end of a branch or perched on the top of the cactus. We call it the head because they look so much like people.”

Fisher said the best time to see the blooms open is at night.

“It will last a few hours into the day if it’s cool, but if it’s warm or too hot, the blossom will close up and it’s a one-night show,” he said. “Once the saguaro blossom opens it will stay open through the evening and gets pollenated at night. As soon as the sun rises, the blossom will shrink back, never to open again.”

The saguaro blossom show is expected to get even better over the next few weeks.