The Piercy foliage and the thick branches of the Joshua tree give an illustrative look, just like a tall Cactus, confusing many people who watch the tree from a distance.
Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) is a succulent with deep roots and Cactus has shallow roots with specialized storage organs.
Go through this article to know how Cactus is different from the Joshua tree and the specialty of the Joshua tree.
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What Kind Of Plant Is Joshua Tree?
Joshua Tree is not a tree but an amazing succulent that grows mostly in the Mojave desert, rocky slopes, and dry washes.
The branches are irregular with spiny leaves that give the tree an artistic look. You can see the tree flowering with beautiful white blossoms on the tip of every branch or stem.
Moreover, the flowers are bell-shaped or more like cup-shaped and have distinct sweet fragrances that enhance during the night to attract moths and other pollinators.
Joshua Tree bears succulent characteristics with thick leaves and stems to store reserved water. Moreover, it has deep roots and very slow growth to survive in the harsh environment.
Thus, due to these characteristics and adaptive qualities, people often confuse the Joshua tree with the Cactus plant.
Is Joshua Tree A Cactus?
Although the Joshua Tree bears characteristics resembling the Cactus, it is not a Cactus. Both Cactus and Joshua trees thrive in similar desert environments with resembling appearance.
Moreover, the spiky leaves and soft trunk and stem look just like a Cactus which is enough to confuse people who are unfamiliar with desert plants.
Additionally, the cultural depiction of several people portraying the Cactus as a desert plant is also the reason behind this confusion. However, the Joshua tree is dominant in the Mojave desert instead of the Cacti.
Also, the Joshua tree has spiny true leaves but the leaves in Cacti are modified as spines or thorns.
Mainly, the Joshua tree is from the family Asparagaceae which is the Agave family that includes succulents like Yucca. In contrast, Cactus belongs to Cactaceae which is totally different than that of Joshua tree.
Furthermore, you can see Cactus growing in a wide range of habitats like deserts, grasslands, rainforests, etc while the Joshua tree can grow in places where drought is prevalent.
What’s So Special About Joshua Tree?
The appearance and adaptive qualities of the Joshua tree are special in comparison to many other plants. The outstanding shape due to gnarled stems and crowny branches gives an outstanding illustration.
The remarkable adaptations are due to the deep roots that can draw water and minerals easily compared to other plants.
Joshua tree is also special as it provides food and shelter to several desert animals including insects, reptiles, mammals, and even birds.
Thus the amazing tree is named after the prophet Joshua by the followers, Mormon settlers. Since then this tree has carried deep meanings and symbolism with cultural significance.
Due to its special appearance, Joshua Tree National Park was named after this plant that attracts lots of visitors. Joshua Tree National Park lies in Southern California.
Thus the beauty, adaptability, and cultural & ecological significance, of the Joshua Tree is special among many nature enthusiasts.
From Editorial Team
Due to several climatic hazards like a rise in temperature, extended drought, precipitation shift, and risks of fire, the Joshua tree is in a threatened category. Human behaviors like off-road creation, mining, etc also play a great role in making this plant threatened.
Thus, to enjoy the astonishing beauty for a lifetime, conservation efforts, climate change mitigation, and community engagement is vital.