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Joshua trees - IMG_1274 | by Nicola since 1972
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Joshua trees - IMG_1274

Yucca brevifolia (Jousha Tree) is a plant species belonging to the genus Yucca. It is tree-like in habit, which is reflected in its common names: Joshua tree, Yucca palm, Tree yucca, and Palm tree yucca.

This monocotyledonous tree 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 (1,300 and 5,900 ft) elevation. It thrives in the open grasslands of Queen Valley and Lost Horse Valley in Joshua Tree National Park. Two subspecies have been described: Yucca brevifolia ssp. jaegeriana (the Jaeger Joshua tree or Jaeger's Joshua tree or pygmae yucca) and Yucca brevifolia ssp. herbertii (Webber's Yucca or Herbert Joshua Tree), though both are sometimes treated as varieties or forms.


The name Joshua tree was given by a group of Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century. The tree's unique shape reminded them of a Biblical story in which Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer. Ranchers and miners who were contemporary with the Mormon immigrants also took advantage of the Joshua tree, using the trunks and branches as fencing and for fuel for ore-processing steam engines. It is also called Izote de desierto.

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Taken on July 24, 2011