First of all, the Joshua Tree is not a tree, although it does look like somewhat like one.  It is a plant in the Yucca family.  It is most common in California and Arizona but is also found in Nevada, Utah, Mexico and the Caribbean. Early Mormon settlers named the plant after a story in the bible about Joshua reaching his arms skyward in prayer.

Best places to see it

The best places to see big Joshua Trees in large numbers are Joshua Tree National Park (California).  Also, they can be found at Cima Dome in the Mojave Desert (California), and the Joshua Tree Parkway between Wickenburg and Wickieup in Arizona.


The Joshua Tree is a very fast-growing plant. Consequently, it will increase by about 7.6 cm (3 inches) per year in the first ten years.  Then it slows down to about half that rate and can live for hundreds of years.  Because it is not a tree, it does not have growth rings, making it difficult to determine the age.  The roots can be up to 11 metres (36 feet) in length.  maximum height is approximately 15 metres (49 feet).

The plant blooms from mid-February to late April.

Joshua Tree

The Yucca Moth

The family of Yucca plants depend on the Yucca Moth for pollination.  The Yucca Moth larvae feed on the seeds.  This is a symbiotic relationship where plant and insect depend on each other for survival.

The town of Joshua Tree

There is a town called Joshua Tree, located in San Bernardino County, California.  The population is about 7,500.

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