Mexico/Baja Norte: Giant Cardon Cacti
No other plant in Baja stands out in the landscape as much as the magnificent cardon cactus, forming endless forest of spires as far as the eye can see. Pachycereus pringlei in Latin, the cardon cactus is endemic for Baja and some small parts of Sonora in Mexico. The cardons can reach heights of 10m/30ft and some get to 20m/60ft – total giants. The view of these massive cacti and standing beside them is beyond amazing! Cardon cactus lives in symbiosis with Azospiryllum bacterium which allows the plant to grow on bare rock with zero soil – the bacteria synthesize nitrogen from the air and break down the rock for the cacti to grow. Cardon cactus is the tallest living cactus in the world, with a maximum recorded height of 19.2m (63ft), still alive! Cardon can be found all over Baja, but the thickest stands with the largest ones are in the Central Baja California Desert.