You may have heard of Joshua Tree National Park. But do you know what Joshua Tree is? Up until recently I had known of the park, but I had no idea what a Joshua Tree was or even where they grew outside of California. In this blog post I’m going to give you a little details about what these Dr. Seuss like trees are and where you can find them.
What is a Joshua Tree?
The legend is that Joshua Trees were named by Mormon settlers after the Biblical figure Joshua. Joshua Trees are strange spiky, curvy trees that you would see straight out of a Dr. Suess book. This cactus-like tree is part of the agave family. American Indians have been known to use the leaves of the trees to be woven into baskets and sandals and flower buds and seeds as healthy food.
Much like the cactus, Joshua Trees depend on well-timed rain and lots of sunlight for their growth. During spring rains you might see white-green flowers sprout from the branch tips. The tallest tree in the park is 40 feet high in Queen Valley forest. The average lifespan of the tree is around 150 years old.
Where can you find Joshua Trees?
When we planned our trip out west I had originally wanted to make a stop at Joshua Tree National Park. We ran out of time and didn’t make it out to California. I assumed I would have to plan another trip to see the illusive Joshua Trees. Little did I know we would drive through a vast span of Joshua Trees on our way from Las Vegas to Phoenix.
Joshua Tree National Park is located in southern California. Joshua Trees are also known to be spotted all around the Mojave Desert, the Sonoran Desert in western Arizona and mixed in with the pine trees of the San Bernardino Mountains of California.
When visiting a place with Joshua Trees please be respectful of these unique trees. They are an important part of the ecosystem of the Mojave Desert which provides habitat for numerous birds, mammals, insects, and lizards.