Crest Quest

Bob Cardell, founding member of the Crested Saguaro Society, was speaker at the Nature Club’s May meeting.

Bob Cardell, founding member of the Crested Saguaro Society, was speaker at the Nature Club’s May meeting.

Pam Boedeker

On April 12 the SaddleBrooke Nature Club was treated to a presentation on Crested (Cristated) Saguaro. Presenter and founder of The Crested Saguaro Society, Bob Cardell, kept the audience informed and entertained with his slideshow of Crested Saguaro.

Bob took his first photograph of a Crested Saguaro in 2005. Nine years later he has located and photographed over 2100 Crested Saguaro in the state of Arizona.

Scientists have no explanation of why the crested mutation takes place. It seems to occur when the plant is approximately 75 years old; about the time it would normally start forming arms. The crest is a rare occurrence. Crested Saguaro are more susceptible to frost, wind and the elements. Sadly, Bob had before and after photos of beautiful Crested Saguaro that had died.

The photographs of the Crested Saguaro illustrated how unique each one is. Bob had names for each saguaro: The General’s Wife, The Menorah, Owl Head Beauty and The Glove. One saguaro had four crests! A rare occurrence is a Ring Crested Saguaro where the crests have formed what appears to be a saucer.

Harry Ford, one of our SaddleBrooke neighbors, gave the introduction for Bob Cardell’s presentation. Harry himself has identified many never before discovered Crested Saguaro. He is a member of the Crested Saguaro Society. ( The website has dozens of photographs of Crested Saguaro.

Norma Inkster, who attended the meeting, is also a member of the Crested Saguaro Society. She leads a hike at Saguaro National Park East every Monday morning for the Southern Arizona Hiking Club. These and other hikes she leads are very well attended. She has an admirable reputation for never getting lost!

Harry Ford donated a beautiful framed photograph of a Crested Saguaro for the night’s door prize. The winner was Judy Urback. Everyone in the room envied her luck!

The SaddleBrooke Nature Club’s next meeting will be at 4:00 p.m. on June 9 in the Coyote Room of HOA 1 Clubhouse. Don Swann will be giving an in-depth presentation on the Flora and Fauna of Saguaro National Park.

The SaddleBrooke Nature Club will not be meeting in July and August. Watch for an article later this summer telling what will be on September’s agenda.