“The extreme clarity of the desert light is equaled by the extreme individuation of desert life-forms.” Edward Abbey
The Queen is a cristate (or crested) saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea). Cristate form is perhaps most well-known in saguaro but can occur widely across many cacti and succulent species. As some suggest, these are “freaks of nature”. The mechanisms for cresting aren’t well understood but the outcome can be elegant or bizarre (or both). Cristate form occurrence in saguaro cactus is estimated at about 5 per million. They’re not easy to come by yet Saguaro National Park says they have about 75 within their boundaries. Here’s an informative article for your reading pleasure:
Here’s an enjoyable video about the Crested Saguaro Society who have now located more than 2200 cristate specimens in Arizona: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfNJ2KuQNvU
A larger version and prints can be acquired on the website (click LARGER VIEW under the image). Thank you for looking and commenting.