JOSHUA TREES BLOOM ACROSS THE MOJAVE
March-April 2013. Lanfair Valley Joshua trees in full bloom.
(Photo by Chris Ervin)
This spring has witnessed a profuse and wide spread blooming of Joshua trees and Mojave yuccas across the Southwest. Here is a sampling from the numerous reports in the media:
* * *
Despite this winter and spring being relatively dry, the Joshua Trees found in the Mojave Desert and on the eastern slopes of the Tehachapi Mountains are blooming now, in the understated, non-colorful way that Joshuas flower. Like so many aspects of this distinctive plant, the Joshua Tree flowering is unusual and seems to defy the long odds against ever successfully producing new Joshua seedlings.
* * *
If you are looking for wildflowers this spring you’re in trouble. On the other hand this is one of the best years for Joshua trees in bloom. This past week, scattered across the Mojave Desert, Joshua trees everywhere were blooming in profusion. From Joshua Tree National Park to Red Rock Canyon State Park in the western Mojave Desert and from Walker Pass just east of Lake Isabella to Utah and Arizona, Joshua trees were in bloom. On Cima Dome, in the Mojave National Preserve, it is the best Joshua tree bloom in 25 years.
* * *
The Mojave Desert’s iconic Joshua trees are blooming like crazy and, although theories abound, there is little consensus about why it’s happening. From Joshua Tree National Park and into Nevada and Arizona, millions of the trees bear foot-long conical bundles of tightly packed, greenish-white flowers at the ends of their spiky branches. What’s remarkable this year, experts say, is that just about every tree has bloomed or is flowering now, with fragrant bundles at the tips of just about every branch. Biologists and others said they can’t recall a year when the Joshua trees had more abundant flowers.
* * *
Millions of the trees have been bursting into bundles of greenish-white flowers in California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. Just about every tree has bloomed this spring when usually far fewer do and they produce fewer flowers, biologists said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon," Cameron Barrows, a research ecologist with the University of California, Riverside.
* * *
Desert ecologist Jim Cornett has been studying Joshua trees since 1988, and he has never seen them bloom the way they are this year. The trees have been blossoming profusely throughout their range from Joshua Tree National Park to Tonopah, Nev., and Wickenburg, Ariz., sprouting abundant cream-colored flowers from the tips of their branches.
Joshua trees on Cima Dome - Press-Enterprise video