Joshua Tree

SeaStar Media

Well before Irish rock band U2‘s seminal 1987 record of the same name, Joshua Trees or the less sexy, yucca brevifolia, captured the imagination of travelers as they crossed the arid desert and grassland regions of the American Southwest. The Mormons heading through the Mojave Desert named the evergreen tree as it’s unique twisted form and arms reminded them of the Bible story in which the devout Old Testament prophet Joshua raised his hands to the sky in prayer.

Later pioneers ate the plump fruit and used the prickly and fibrous wood for fence posts and firewood, often decimating ancient forests of the slow growing trees.  Lacking the traditional growth rings of most trees, the age of Joshua Trees is determined loosely by its height, with some trees reaching 50′ and living for nearly a millennium. The trees grow only at elevations of 1300′ to 5900′ above sea…

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