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Joshua Tree National Park > Roadside Interpretations

A Distinguished Yucca

If you are not familiar with the desert, you may not yet distinguish the Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) and the Mojave Yucca (Yucca schidigera). The Joshua tree is typically multi-branched, though not always. The Mojave yucca forms a trunk that sometimes branches. Here is the foolproof distinction: the Mojave yucca always has splinter-like threads on the edges of its spine-tipped leaves- a signature you can count on.

The Mojave yucca- like all yuccas- is a fiber producing plant, prized by Indians of the region. They made rope, sandals, mats, clothing, and baskets by soaking the leaves and pounding away the softer plant tissue.

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Cactus yucca scrub habitat

ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - glossary
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