Spiky Leaves of the Joshua Tree

Travel with Intent

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As its latin name, Yucca brevifolia, shows, the Joshua Tree is really a Yucca plant, but its tree-like stature gives it its common names of Joshua tree, yucca palm, tree yucca, and palm tree yucca.

It is an evergreen plant with dark green, bayonet-shaped leaves, forming a dense spiral at the apex of the stems. The edges of the leaves are white and serrated.  It brings forth creamy white flowers in spring providing there has been rain and a winter freeze.

It is native to southwestern North America in the states of California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada, where it is confined mostly to the Mojave Desert between 400 and 1,800 meters in elevation. It thrives in the open grasslands of Queen Valley and Lost Horse Valley in Joshua Tree National Park, one of my very favourite places in the United States. I haven’t yet seen the Joshua trees in flower, which must be quite a sight, so I have made a note to make…

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