Why are Crested saguaros so rare?

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Offline Atomic-S

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Why are Crested saguaros so rare?
« on: 02/06/2006 04:54:30 »
The giant Saguaro cactus of Arizona is known for one peculiarity: about 1 in 200,000 cacti is of the "crested" form, rather than the common tall armed form. The crested form usually begins growing like a regular saguaro, but then bulbs and branches in sort of a fan-shaped pattern. These saguaros are valued, and due to their rarity, the question arises of the possible environmental loss if even one of their number is destroyed.

My question is: Is the worry over the loss of one crested saguaro warranted?  It is warranted if the crested saguaro is a distinct species; but is it? I had imagined that crestedness resides as a genetic oddity within all (or a large fraction of) the saguaro population, but has a low probability of manifestation.  If this is so, we need not worry about the loss of crestedness even if all existing crested saguaros were cut down today, because new ones would re-emerge again from the general population, at the rate of 1 in 200,000.  Anyone have any information on this subject?
« Last Edit: 01/07/2008 11:25:15 by BenV »


Offline tangoblue

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Why are Crested saguaros so rare?
« Reply #1 on: 09/03/2009 19:11:53 »
don't know [???]