Torch Cacti in Bloom at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

Many Red Torches

Many Red Torches © 2012 Bo Mackison

What a marvelous send-off I had this past week!

I have visited the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum just west of Tucson two or three times a week since mid-January. Each time I visit, I manage to find new wonders. Sometimes I sit on a bench and simply absorb the desert surroundings. Sometimes I visit with the docents who amaze me with the depths of their knowledge on almost any desert topic. Last week I stopped at the Prairie dog exhibit to watch the new babies pop out of their burrows –  only the second day they were out and about exploring the world of the sun.

And on my last visit to the Desert Museum I was treated to an explosion of color as the Torch Cactus Garden had just erupted in a display of red, pink, yellow, orange and white. No wonder the sign in this garden bed proclaims these flowers a “Fireworks of Color!


Yellow Torch

Yellow Torch © 2012 Bo Mackison

Each bloom only lasts one day and they bloomed early this year.  I photographed these flowers over a period of several hours on April 25, a month earlier than is typical. (Last year’s peak bloom was around May 24-25.)

Magenta Torch Flowers

Magenta Torch Flowers © 2012 Bo Mackison

The Torch Cactus (Trichocereus) is not native to Arizona but adapts well to this climate and to landscaped gardens when planted in a filtered sun setting. I imagine these plants would be welcome in any desert garden – what gorgeous, showy flowers they are!


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC, living and photographing in southern Arizona from January through April. She returns for the July monsoons.

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