Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Joshua Tree

This is one of the strangest names for a plant I am aware of. I cannot fathom how the name Joshua Tree was applied to this variety of monocotyledonous Yucca cactus. They say the early settlers named the plant after the Biblical Prophet because it reminded them of a prophet with his hands in the air. I don't get that at all. These strange plants grow in a very narrow band because they are extremely sensitive to changes in altitude. As you drive across northwestern Arizona, they appear and disappear based entirely on how high up into the mountains the road travels. I have seen huge forests of these yuccas just across the border in Utah near the Virgin River Gorge on the highway between St. George and Las Vegas.

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