A tree-like yucca, Joshua-tree grows 5-40 ft. tall, with a columnar, much-branched trunk forming a weird and picturesque, open crown. The stiff, blue-green leaves, 8-14 in. long, have yellow margins. The broad flower spikes are short (usually less than 3 ft.) with a candelabra of side branches graced by 1 1/2 in., bell-shaped, fragrant, creamy-white flowers. A picturesque or grotesque, narrow-leaf evergreen tree with short, stout trunk; open, broad crown of many, stout, widely forking, spreading, and sometimes drooping branches; and spiny, daggerlike leaves.
Joshua Tree, the largest of the yuccas, is the characteristic tree of the Mojave Desert and has come to symbolize the area. The Mormon pioneers named this species Joshua, because its shape mimics a person praying with uplifted arms or gesturing wildly, referring to the Biblical leader pointing the way to a Promised Land. It is abundant at Joshua Tree National Monument in southern California and Joshua Forest Parkway in western Arizona. Native Americans made meal from the seeds and a dye for decorating baskets from the reddish rootlets. Red-shafted flickers drill holes in the branches to make nests, which are later occupied by other birds. The desert night-lizard lives in the dead leaves and branches, and woodrats gnaw off the spiny leaves for their nests. The foliage was the primary staple in the diet of the extinct giant sloth.
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
Replacing grass with xeric plants in Nevada
March 20, 2009
I am looking to xeriscape my front yard - remove all grass! I am thinking 3-4 larger plants: bird of paradise (mesquite??), aloe, and ..?? Also, possibly a Chilean mesquite. Do you have suggestio...
view the full question and answer
Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.View Recommended Species page