Yucca brevifolia is commonly known as Joshua tree. It is native to the Mojave Desert. It is very rare in home gardens because it is so extremely susceptible to rot with irrigation, or even where it gets more rain than it is accustomed to in the Mojave Desert. Besides, it is very difficult to work with, and even with impeccable maintenance, even the healthiest of specimens develop weirdly and unpredictably irregular form that too many find to be unappealing. Nonetheless, whether appealing or otherwise, whether in a landscape or in the wild, it is a fascinating species of Yucca. Rhody and I encountered these Joshua trees and many others west of Boron last Thursday.
1. Joshua tree is the tallest tree in this region, but does not get as tall as utility poles. The scarcity of moisture limits vegetation here. That is not wildlife in the lower right corner.
2. Zooming in on the specimen to the right in the previous picture reveals that there are many more in the distance. Many are solitary. Most live socially, in otherworldly forests.
3. If there were an exemplary Joshua tree, it might look something like this. The shabby specimen in the background to the right is also rather typical. They are weirdly variable.
4. These short and rigid leaves are extremely sharp! They look somewhat like the foliage of common giant yucca, but are very difficult to handle. Joshua tree is better in the wild.
5. Old foliage decays very slowly. It folds back and lingers on the limbs like this for many years. Joshua tree grows very slowly, so this foliage may have been like this for decades.
6. Trunks eventually shed deteriorated old leaves as they widen and develop this roughly textured exterior that resembles bark. Again, that is not wildlife in the lower left corner.
This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate: