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Joshua Tree National Park > Nature Trail > Indian Cove

The Yucca and the Moth

Mojave yucca rely on the female yucca moth for pollination. The moth lays her eggs in the plant's flowers and the larvae hatch and feed on some of the seeds cultivated by their mother. Eventually, the larvae drill a small hole in the blossom and drop to the ground on a silky thread. They dig themselves in and remain buried until next year when they hatch out as moths to repeat the cycle. Only yucca moths can pollinate yucca plants.

The evolution of these two mutually supportive forms of life is another one of the many mysteries of the desert.

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Mojave yucca (yucca schidigera)
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