Joshua trees are exclusively found in the Mojave Desert of the southwest United States, are found around 2,500-5,000 feet in elevation, can grow to between 20 and 70 feet (6 and 21 meters), have an average lifespan of 150 to 200 years, and can live much longer under ideal conditions. In this video, we give you an up-close view while sharing some fast facts about these wondrous plants as well as a concern about their longevity and uncertain future. The Mojave Desert includes an area of about 54,000 square miles largely in California and Nevada along with sections of Arizona and Utah. These iconic trees threatened by climate change have a history as unique as their twisted forms, which some observers adore and others detest. Mormons named the trees thought their outstretched branches resembled the biblical figure raising his arms in supplication. Joshua trees are not actual trees, but members of the yucca family. Unlike sequoias that need heat to release seeds from their cones, Joshua trees rarely resprout after a fire. As intense fires occur in its home range, threats to this popular desert plant mount. Some studies predict that by 2100 western Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) will be extinct. Joshua trees don’t reproduce quickly and rely greatly on other creatures to give them a helping hand, such as the yucca moth. In the spring, creamy white flowers on the tips of the Joshua tree branches attract these moths and are the Joshua tree’s only known pollinator in the world. By crawling into the flowers to lay their eggs, the moths collect pollen on their bodies and transfer it to other flowering Joshua trees. In turn, when the eggs hatch the larvae find nourishment in the Joshua tree seeds. Have you seen the Joshua trees in the Mojave Desert?

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