Did you know…………………….
That the Joshua Tree is not really a tree at all? It is actually part of the Lily Family. The Joshua Tree that we see here in the Mojave Desert is the “Yucca brevifolia” and can only be found in the Mojave Desert and no where else in the world. Its height varies from 15-40 feet with a trunk diameter of 1-3 feet, with roots possibly reaching up to 36 ft away. The trunk of a Joshua tree is made up of thousands of small fibers and lacks annual growth rings, making it difficult to determine the tree’s age. If it survives the rigors of the desert, it can live for hundreds of years, with some specimens surviving up to a thousand years!
Joshua Trees rely on the female Pronuba Moth for pollination. No other animal or insect visiting the blooms can transfer the pollen from one flower to another. Without the moth’s pollination, the Joshua Tree could not reproduce, nor could the moth, whose larvae eat the seeds. Like most desert plants, their blooming is dependent on rainfall at the proper time. They also need a winter freeze before they will bloom.
Ancient Native Americans who lived in the Mojave Desert considered this plant a valuable resource and used the leaves to weave sandals and baskets, in addition to harvesting the seeds and flower buds for nutritious meals.
There is some concern that Joshua trees will be eliminated from Joshua Tree National Park due to climate change, and that this will damage the ecosystem of the Mojave Desert, and specifically, Joshua Tree National Park.