Agavaceae (Agave Family)
Yucca brevifoliaEngelm. Joshua Tree. (Plate 6.1) Erect, commonly single-stemmed trees, 10–40 ft (3.3–13 m) tall, usually branching well above the ground in an erratically spreading pattern. Leaves are clustered at the ends of the branches, resembling bristly rosettes. The blades are rigid, up to 14 in (3.5 dm) long, tapering to a stiff spine. Inflorescences are very dense terminal clusters, 8–10 in (2–2.4 dm) long, set in rosettes of leaflike bracts. The crowded flowers are roundish or elongated. The petal-like tepals are oblong, 1 1/2–2 1/2 in (4–6.5 cm) long, fleshy and waxen. Mature seed capsules are broad, 2–3 1/2 in (5–7.8 cm) long, dry and spongy. Flower: Greenish white to cream.
Distribution. The dominant plant on certain dry slopes and flats, but more commonly widely scattered; mostly in the Inyo Mountains; Desert Scrub to Pinyon-juniper Woodland, up to 7,000 ft (2,134 m).