Collage of two separate locations in Joshua Tree National Park in California during the day and at dusk on an undisclosed date | Photos courtesy of National Park Service, collage by Chris Reed, St. George News
FEATURE — For some, it’s the desert flora that attracts them to the park. For others, it’s the rock formations.
It took the combination of both to ensure the preservation of a large swath of Mojave Desert land in Southern California as Joshua Tree National Monument.
The Joshua tree, or “Yucca brevifolia,” is in the Yucca genus but has the “habits” of a tree. Even the park website suggests the trees look like something out of a Dr. Suess book.
The commonly accepted story of the unique tree’s name comes from Latter-day Saint settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the late 19th century.
“Legend has it that these pioneers named the tree after the biblical figure, Joshua, seeing the limbs of the tree as outstretched in supplication, guiding the travelers westward,” the park’s web page states.
Unlike a traditional tree, it does not exhibit age rings making age difficult to determine. For a desert species, they are fast-growing and can rise approximately three inches per year and live anywhere between approximately 200 to 1,000…