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Joshua Tree National Park > Roadside Interpretations

A Desert Forest

Here, the Joshua tree is unrelated king. Tall representative of the lily family, with bottle-brush branches reaching as far high as 40 feet, this grotesque but dignified trademark of the high Mojave Desert reminded early Mormon settlers of the biblical Joshua pointing the way to the promised land.

Red-tailed hawks build bulky creosote nests in cradles formed by two upreaching branches. Horned owls and mockingbirds suspend their nests from spiky undersides. Woodpeckers bore into spongy-wooded trunks. Moths hover over clusters of cream-colored lily-like blossoms in the spring of wet years. Jackrabbits and packrats nibble and gnaw at succulent green parts. And a desert night lizard searches out termites beneath a rotting Joshua tree skeleton melting into the forest floor.

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Joshua tree woodland habitat
ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - map/sat - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - book store
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