This wonderful cactus, its colossal proportions, and weird, yet grand, appearance in the rocky regions of Mexico and California, where it is found in abundance, have been made known to us only through books of travel, no large plants of it having as yet appeared in cultivation in this country. It is questionable if ever the natural desire to see such a vegetable curiosity represented by a large specimen in gardens like Kew can be realized, owing to the difficulty of importing large stems in a living condition; and even if successfully brought here, they survive only a very short time. To grow young plants to a large size seems equally beyond our power, as plants 6 inches high and carefully managed are quite ten years old. When young, the stem is globose, afterward becoming club-shaped or cylindrical. It flowers at the height of 12 feet, but grows up to four or five times that height, when it develops lateral branches, which curve upward and present the appearance of an immense candelabrum, the base of the stem being as thick as a man's body. The flower, of which a figure is given here, is about 5 inches long and wide, the petals cream colored, the sepals greenish white. Large clusters of flowers are developed together near the top of the stem.
A richly colored edible fruit like a large fig succeeds each flower, and this is gathered by the natives and used as food under the name of saguarro. A specimen of this cactus 3 feet high may be seen in the succulent house at Kew.--B., The Garden.