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Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Yuccas Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Relatively short in stature, branch close to the ground

Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana), or perhaps Yucca jaegeriana, are the signature species of the Mojave Desert: if you see Joshua trees, you are in the Mojave Desert -- no questions asked.

Eastern Joshua Trees occur in Arizona and parts of eastern California and southeastern Nevada, including around Las Vegas. Western Joshua Trees occur to the south and west. Link to distribution map.

Eastern Joshua Trees differ from Western Joshua Trees in a number of ways, but Eastern Joshua Trees are shorter, branch closer to the ground, and have shorter leaves. There are also differences in the flower, fruit, and pollinators.

Joshua trees are a major component of the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zone, and they extend into the Upper Sonoran (Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) life zone.

Family: Agave (Agavaceae).

Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Short leaves

Other Names: tree yucca, joshua tree yucca.

Plant Form: Upright, many branched tree, with branches starting close to the ground.

Height: usually to about 15 feet.

Trunk: generally 12-15 inches diameter, to 3 feet; brown, rough, and furrowed. Young trunks covered with dead leaves.

Leaves: long (usually 6-8 inches) and narrow, straight, pointed tip, toothed margins, dark green. Live leaves clustered at the ends of branches in dense rosettes; dead leaves stay attached for years and cover the trunks.

Flowers: greenish-white, waxy, bell shaped, to 3.5 inches long. Flowers clustered on stalks (to 1.5-feet long) at the branch tips. Blooms in the spring if there has been enough cold days during winter. These flowers are long and narrow compared to Western Joshua Tree flowers.

Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Branch close to the ground

Seeds: Occur in green seedpods about 1.5 inches wide and 4 inches long. These seedpods are long and narrow compared to Western Joshua Tree seedpods.

Elevation: 2,000 to 3,500 ft

Comments: Joshua trees got their common name from the Mormon settlers who likened the tree to the biblical prophet Joshua with his arms uplifted towards the sky in prayer.

Joshua trees can live to 300 years.

Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)
Relatively short in stature, branch close to the ground

Many species of wildlife use Joshua trees. In places where Joshua trees are the only "trees" around, woodpeckers drill nest holes into the trunks, holes that are then used by other nesting birds in later years. Desert Night Lizards depend entirely on Joshua trees and other yuccas, living only under the bark and in the dead trunks of these species. Desert Woodrats often nest in the hollow trunks of dead Joshua trees.

During drought and other times of stress, Desert Woodrats sometimes chew off the leaves of Joshua Trees. Sometimes the cut leaves are left on the ground, other times they seem to have been chewed or eaten, and sometimes they are used to armor the Woodrat's nest.

Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana) Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana) Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana) Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana) Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)
Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Eastern Joshua Tree in Gold Butte National Monument
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Eastern Joshua Tree in Gold Butte National Monument
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Eastern Joshua Tree in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Eastern Joshua Tree in Gold Butte National Monument
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana) Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Eastern Joshua Tree flower
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Eastern Joshua Tree flower
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Eastern Joshua Tree flower with one petal removed
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Eastern Joshua Tree flower with all petals removed
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Eastern Joshua Tree flower stigma and ovary
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Eastern Joshua Tree flower stigma and ovary
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Dissected Eastern Joshua Tree ovary
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Grub inside Eastern Joshua Tree ovary
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana) Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana) Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)
Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)
Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana) Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)
Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana) Eastern Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia jaegeriana)
Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)
Joshua Tree leaves chewed off by a Desert Woodrat
Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)
Joshua Tree leaves chewed off by a Desert Woodrat
Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)
Joshua Tree leaves chewed off by a Desert Woodrat
Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)
Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)
Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)
Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)
Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 180214

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