What Does the Inside of a Cactus Look Like? Investigating in Saguaro National Park

If you’ve ever looked at a large cactus, you have probably pondered the question “what does the inside of a cactus look like?”  It is hard to look at the spiny, pleated exterior of one and not wonder what is beneath. How does it stand? What does it look like inside? Wonder no longer – I have you covered after our visit to Saguaro National Park in Arizona!

What is in the Inside of a Saguaro Cactus?

spines of a saguaro cactus

In the very center, you will see woody ribs that give the cactus stability. After the Saguaro dies, these woody ribs can be used like regular tree wood for building and crafting. Extra stability is achieved through the Saguaro’s root system. Although it does not extend very far into the ground, the roots fan roughly the same length as the cactus’ height.

Around the woody ribs is the spongy flesh. Here’s where the cactus stores water. Did you know that when a fully grown (40 – 60 foot tall) Saguaro cactus is fully hydrated it can weigh 3200 to 4800 pounds? That’s because of all the retained water in this spongy flesh section!

inside of a cactus
Cross Section of a Saguaro Cactus
what does Inside of cactus look like
This dead Saguaro cactus is still standing – note the woody ribs!