Weekly Photo Challenge – Twisted

Buckeye, Arizona.

This week, Jen H. asks to “show us something twisted.” Details of the challenge post can be found here. Looking through my gallery, I realized that there are many desert plants and trees that exhibit some form of twisting. I normally think of the mighty saguaro with a single trunk and maybe multiple arms all pointing skyward. In reality, though, life has a way of twisting things out of shape. Among other desert plants, I’ve included a few examples of saguaros “doin’ the twist.”

The tall and gangly cactus is long-lived, many specimens well over two centuries old. Those signature “arms” don’t appear until the sixth or seventh decade of growth, typically. By then, the trunk is peppered with holes made by several species of birds, probably the most common, the gila woodpecker.

Occasionally, two saguaro grow side by side. These two appear to be in some sort of prickly embrace. “You see, when two saguaro love each other very much…”

One of my favorite shots in the Arizona desert is the tall sycamore tree that twisted its way toward the sun so that it could grow around the overhanging rock cropping above the tree’s base. You can just see the tip of the outcropping in the upper right corner of the photo above.

One of my favorite desert trees is the mesquite. It’s branches grow, bend, and twist in random fashion. I enjoy looking at all the natural variations of this beautiful tree. They grow quickly in the desert environment and can live quite nicely on the scarce diet of water found in the Arizona Sonoran Desert.

John Steiner


  1. Twisting the night away! Mesquite is also quite exceptional as a hardwood for smoking food such as the wicked delicious brisket.

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