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Joshua Tree National Park
Mojave Desert Ecozone: Nature Trail

Cap Rock

Cap Rock formation, Joshua Tree National Park
In the Land of Little Rain

The Mojave Desert, called by Mary Austin "the land of little rain", is located between the higher, colder Great Basin Desert and the lower warmer Sonoran Desert. Because of its intermediate elevation, much of the year the land bakes in the hot, dry air, but winters can mean snow and freezing nights. Heat and arid winds combine to evaporate most available moisture. How does anything survive? Due to some unique adaptations, many plants and animals are able to meet the challenges of this harsh land.

Nature Trail

.4 mile loop - Paved, wheelchair accessible. Begins in Cap Rock parking area at junction of Park Blvd. and Keys View Road.

Peachthorn

Many Mojave Desert plants, such as this peachthorn, Lycium cooperi, may look dead ...

Desert Almond

The leaf structures of most desert perennials are modified in some way to ...

Mormon Tea

Mormon tea, Ephedra spp., has gone a step further. It has dispensed with ...

Microhabitats

In areas around large boulder piles, vegetation is thicker and more diverse ...

Galleta Grass

In the more arid flats, wide spacing is a solution to survival. This reduces ...

Mojave Yucca

Most desert insects make use of plants. Sometimes the plants also ...

Lichens

On boulders may live some colorful lichens, a "marriage" of algae and ...

Wanted - Dead or Alive

The Joshua tree, Yucca brevifolia, living or dead, has a large role in the ...

Joshua Tree with Offshoots

Joshua trees can reproduce in two ways. Seeds produce tender seedlings that ...

Cactus

Unlike the Sonoran Desert, the cacti species found here, such as silver cholla, ...

Juniper

The basic adaptation of desert perennials is the ability of their roots to ...

Annuals

Annual wildflowers are drought escapers, able to wait out years of drought as ...

Designed for Desert Living

Life in the desert is possible as long as all residents adjust to ...
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