Thursday, March 5, 2009

Latillas

Saguaros and their internal ribs were regularly used in the Southwest as building materials.  Yesterday's photo showed the beauty of the Saguaro, while today's photo shows you what the rib of a dead Saguaro looks like. I took the photo underneath a ramada. The wood is very strong and the ribs are called latillas.

Latillas are used for patios, ramadas, fences, doors, windows, and today is regularly used for a southwestern look.  I have them in my house on the headboard of a bed and in several chairs and benches.  I also used them to make a ping-pong ramada.

Even though the Saguaro ribs are very strong, the tall cactus also provides a home to many birds who make holes through the wood. Birds that live in the Saguaro are Gila Woodpeckers, Gilded Flickers, Cactus Wrens, and more.  The Saguaro provides food to animals and people, provides a home for wildlife, and its strong wood ribs are used as construction materials.

One caution though, many critters live in dead Saguaros.  Once I found a dead Saguaro and wanted to take it home to make something so when we started to move it, we learned the hard way about how many critters there were.  The small rodents and others did not alarm me, but the scorpion with the many baby scorpions on her back that went scrambling everywhere, including on my pant leg.  I did not get stung but was screaming.  I can handle snakes anytime, but I hate scorpions.  

16 comments:

cieldequimper said...

Julia that is such an interesting story to complement a great shot! If I ever get to see any, I'll be mindful... ;-)

Olivier said...

heureusement à Evry on a pas de scorpion, mais j'aimerais pas en rencontrer.

Fortunately Evry was no scorpion, but I would not meet.

brattcat said...

What a story. This cactus series is visually fascinating and so informative. Thanks.

Pat and Abe said...

Lots of information and a beautiful photo.

Abraham Lincoln
Brookville, Ohio

Sharon said...

I'm with you on the scorpians!

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

I have been stung by a scorpion. I stepped on a scorpion while getting a California map out of the corner of my garage before leaving on a vacation to San Diego. I was stung in the left heel.

It felt like a really bad bee sting. Then I could feel a numbness and dull pain. I drove to San Diego anyway, with an ice pack on the floor of the car for my left foot (I had two small children who were anxious for their vacation).

I could feel the numbing sensation radiating up my leg until somewhere between Gila Bend and Yuma, when it started retreating. By the time I reached San Diego, it was fine. No problem.

A friend, however, ended up in the hospital after a scorpion sting. It depends on one's susceptibility.

Lois said...

I had no idea the Saguaros could be used to build things like that! How interesting! I'm right there with you on the scorpions. We have small scorpions here and sometimes they get in the house. I hate them as much as I hate snakes!

Vogon Poet said...

The biggest cactus on my terrace is less than a foot high, but after your stories I'll see it with more respect!

Betty Flocken said...

I can handle the scorpions it's the snakes I can't handle. I saw you on Jim's sight and had to stop by when I saw you are in Scottsdale. I am fairly new to the valley of the sun (2003) but I'm NOT a snow bird. We fell in love with AZ years before that and on a whim, moved to Gold Canyon east of Apache Junction in 2003. We're in Buckeye now closer to our kids in CA. 4 generations! that's something. I love the Phoenix Valley and have grown very fond of the west side. I enjoyed your posts and will be back to visit again. Thanks for sharing AZ

Lessie said...

Wonderful story and commentary -- so much I don't know about your part of the world!

Kala said...

Thats pretty kewl how strong the wood of this cactus is - I would have never guessed cactus spines can be used for construction material, for building fences and such! Very nice and informative post! Arizona is an exciting place to live!

Stu said...

I have also been stung by a scorpion. I was about to sit on the couch to watch some TV. As I put my hand down, I felt a prick. I then looked down and saw it crawling where I had just placed my hand and flicked it to the floor and stepped on it with the bottom of my shoe.

It honestly didn't affect me that bad, some swelling and numbness. It went away after a few hours.

JM said...

How interesting! I had no idea saguaros could be used like that. I like latillas very much, this is a cool photo!

Jackie said...

Wow that's so interesting. It seems like Mother Nature is really getting her money's worth from this - home for critters, fruit for eating, wood for building, not to mention a gorgeous sight for the viewing!

Jacob said...

That is sooo interesting. I lived in Phoenix/Scottsdale for several years and saw lots of the cacti, but never knew all of that.

Thanks...and your photo is intriguing.

glenda said...

A scorpion up the pant leg would be my worst nightmare. I've seen some beautiful things made from cactus.

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