Yucca brevifolia, the Joshua tree is a typical species of the Mojave desert in Califonia, Arizona, Nevada and northwards to Utah. The species name brevifolia comes from the Latin for short leafed. The tallest trees reach about 15 meters tall. Yucca brevifolia is great for a bird garden and a butterfly garden.
The trunk of a Joshua tree is made of thousands of small fibers. Older plants form a sturdy trunk that supports many crowns with typical spikey leaves. Yucca brevifolia's foliage color is green, evergreen. The rigid leaves are linear, bayonet-shaped, 16 inches long and 1 inch wide, tapering to a sharp point; they are borne in a dense spiral arrangement at the apex of the stems.
The Joshua tree blooms in early Spring. The nodding panicles are 20 inches long, bearing 3 inch greenish-white flowers with six tepals. Joshua trees usually do not branch until after they bloom and they don't bloom every year. Like most desert plants, their blooming is dependent on rainfall at the proper time. They also need a Winter freeze before they will bloom.
The fruit is a light brown to reddish capsule, 2.5 to 5 inches long, 2 inches in diameter, it dries and falls soon after maturity in late Spring. The fruit is edible.
Hardiness zones 7-10, (1°C/35°F, -15°C/5°F) in Winter. The Joshua tree is very cold hardy and takes severe freezes with ease but, being a true plant of the desert, it prefers drier climates and is difficult to keep alive in cool, wet conditions. Extremely heat tolerant. They need sun, perfect drainage and little Summer water.