Joshua trees are of the plant species yucca brevifolia, which are native in the southwest United States, They thrive in open grasslands between 1300 to 5900 feet in elevation. Joshua trees grow in the Mojave desert in California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. Joshua Tree National Park is in California. These trees rely on the female yucca or pronumba moth for pollination. These moths transfer pollen from one flower to another, the flowers are produced from February to late April. This moth also lays her eggs in the flowers, when the larva hatch, they feed on the yucca seeds. The pollinating moths scatter seeds to establish new stands. Joshua trees can also sprout new plants from their root system, where new stems grow from underground rhizomes that spread out around the tree. There are many animals that live in and around Joshua trees including birds, lizards, prairie dogs, snakes, bighorn sheep, coyotes, and black-tailed jack rabbits. Joshua trees are a species predicted to have their range altered by climate change, which is transforming the ecosystems they live in.
The name Joshua tree was given by a group of Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century. The tree’s unique shape reminded them of a biblical story in which Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer.