Cactus sprouts!

Ever seen a newborn saguaro cactus, just days old? They are very picky about germinating, but I finally convinced some to come up in my growth chambers. I understand they are a preferred food of small rodents, so of course my fellow underground burrowing grad students wanted to try them as well. Cute, huh?

1-3 day old saguaro seedlings, germinated from fruit collected in June around my study plots on Tumamoc Hill

… and can you believe they grow into these monsters?

Researchers walk through a forest of saguaro cactus (Carnegea gigantea), with patches of bunch grass at their feet. Difficult to tell from the resolution of this photo whether the grass is native or an introduced invasive species.