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Joshua Tree National Park > Nature Trail > Indian Cove

Mojave Yucca

(Yucca schidigera)

Growing abundantly in the high desert, this yucca resembles its larger relative, the Joshua tree (yucca brevifolia) which usually occurs at higher elevations. One way to tell them apart is by the edges of their succulent leaves: Mojave yucca have many cord-like fibers which splinter off the edges of each leaf, while Joshua tree leaves have many sharp teeth along their edges.

Look for the yellow and black Scott's oriole nesting on yucca leaves abd getting its daily quota of of insects from the yucca trunk. Sniped leaves could mean busy woodrats chewed them off and carried them back to line their nests as protection against predators.

Even after death, the yucca provides life for desert lizards, spiders, beetles and other insects. Eventually termites recycle the yucca remains back into the soil allowing life in the desert to continue.

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Mojave yucca (yucca schidigera)
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