Morphologic nomenclature

Robert S Wallace rwallace at
Mon Oct 27 17:41:46 EST 1997

In article <3453B7C8.77A8EE34 at>,
Darren Abbey  <darren_a at> wrote:
>Cameron Laird wrote:
>> What are the "arms" of a saguaro?  Is there a
>> rubric--something like "brachiocarp", perhaps?--
>> for such structures?

Perhaps you are looking for a "synthesized" term - 'brachyclad' (branching
stem segment).  Cactologists usually refer to these "arms" on the saguaro
and other columnar cacti of similar habit as 'lateral branches'.

>> Cameron Laird 
>> claird at      +1 713 996 8546 FAX
>	Last time I was in the Sonoran (or was that Chihuahuan?) desert area

DEFINATELY the Sonoran Desert (BTW, saguaro cacti do not come from Texas as
the belt buckle and vest decorations may suggest!!)  

>where the saguaro grow I heard the term saguaro "arms" to mean the
>branches that grow from the main trunk in the older specimens.   I seem
>to recall that the arms don't begin to form until the plants are about
>75 years old, is this correct?

Seventy-five years is a good estimation point, however first branching in
Carnegiea may be earlier or later than this, due to geographic location,
water availability, and perhaps edaphic conditions.


Rob Wallace

Robert S. Wallace
Associate Professor of Botany                     "In cerevisia veritas est."
Dept. of Botany - Iowa State Univ.
Ames, Iowa 50011-1020             rwallace at       FAX: 515-294-1337

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