Joshua Tree – A Giant Vegatable?

One of the more interesting trees is the Joshua Tree.  It can be found in the southwestern United States and seems to thrive in the desert.  Young trees grow as much as three inches a year in this harsh environment for the first ten years of their lives.

Joshua Tree - a hardy dessert dweller of the American southwest. It sort of reminds you of a giant piece of broccoli..

The tree was quite useful to the Cahuilla Native Americans in the past.  They harvested it flower buds and seeds to use for nutritious meals.  And they made sandals and baskets from its leaves.  They probably used its medicinal value as well.  The tree contains saponin glycodides, found in licorice, and is useful as an expectorant.

The tree is composed of long, internal fibers, so unlike other trees, it does not have tree rings.

It got its name from the Mormon settlers, thinking that its unique shape looked like the Biblical Joshua reaching his hands skyward in prayer.  They also found the tree useful, using it for fencing and fuel.

If you think the tree vaguely looks like a giant vegetable, you are not too far from the mark.  It is classified in the botanical order of Asperagales – the same order as the asparagus we eat (although I think it lots like a monster broccoli myself).

So here’s to the Joshua tree, for being unique, hardy and useful while overcoming a tough environment.  Come to think of it, those are nice qualities we could adapt ourselves, I believe.

Have a nice day – J. Daniel

P.S. For the scientifically inclined, the Joshua Tree’s botanical name is Yucca brevifolia.


One Response to “Joshua Tree – A Giant Vegatable?”

  1. Robby says:

    Enjoyed this informative piece -no tree rings, I’m amazed!

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