The Joshua Tree is not a true tree, but a member of the
Agave Family. It is the largest yucca
can grow to a height of 30 feet. The trunk grows to 3 feet in diameter
and has brown or gray furrowed bark which is often covered by dead
leaves on younger plants. Leaves on the many upward branching arms of
the plant are dark green, long and narrow with toothed margins to 14
inches in length. The plant grows in rocky plains and hillsides at
elevations between 2000-3500 feet.
The Joshua Tree is the
characteristic plant of the Mohave Desert. It was named by Mormon
pioneers who thought it looked like the biblical Joshua lifting
his arms in prayer.
The Joshua Tree typically blooms between March and
April producing greenish white, waxy, bell-shaped flowers to 2.5 inches
in length which grow in clusters from stalks that grow from the ends of
the branches. The plant does not bloom every year, flowers are produced
only if rainfall temperature conditions are favorable. A Joshua Tree can
live for 100 to 300 years.