Arizona cactus is threatened

July 11, 2006

More than 170 new homes are built in the Phoenix and Tucson areas each day and reportedly means many cactus species are being threatened.

Since it takes some cactus species several decades to mature, a group of Arizona volunteers -- called the Cactus Rescue Crew -- is trying to save as many of the plants as they can.

ABC News said the volunteers try to find the plants homes in botanic gardens and even as landscaping decor.

One Cactus Crew member, Ed Taczanowsky, is also president of the Southern Arizona Homebuilders Association and he says not only does saving cacti generate good public relations for homebuilders, it also stimulates sales.

Taczanowsky told ABC landscaped homes in Arizona can command prices as high as houses built as golf-course properties. He said many developers are hiring landscape architects who specialize in saving cactus.

During a recent plant show, the Cactus Rescue Crew sold nearly 4 tons of cacti to homeowners eager to adopt the rescued plants.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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