Joshua Tree is an enchanting place where two deserts meet and whose landscape is dotted with quirky trees that are known as the world’s largest Yucca. The Colorado and the Mojave deserts come together at this junction and the Joshua tree is the distinct plant that gives this place its namesake. As mentioned, the tree is part of the Yucca family and has been known by the native Cahuilla people as “hunuvat chiy’a” or “humwichawa.” It’s been suggested that Mormon settlers gave the tree its western name from the biblical Joshua.
In the past, the Joshua tree’s long, tough leaves were used to weave baskets and its flower buds and seeds were part of the local diet. Ranchers, miners, and Mormon settlers who moved into the area in the mid 19th century, used the branches as building material for fences and other structures.
The folks at Visit 29 Palms will tell you that today most folks enjoy the trees for their aesthetic appeal. And visitors and residents alike delight at the trees’ Dr. Seuss-like silhouettes against the purple desert twilight.
Maybe it’s time you make the trip down to southern California to see these trees for yourself. Whether you’re running the half marathon with us this November, or plan to visit another time, Visit 29 Palms can help you find the best places to stay, dine, and visit. Maybe you’re a history buff who wants to learn more about the people who have called this land home, or perhaps you want to be entertained after your run. You can discover whatever tickles your fancy at Visit 29 Palms.
Okay, maybe not anything that tickles your fancy. If making custom furniture out of exotic wood is your hobby, we might have to put a pause on that while you visit Joshua Tree. We hate to put a damper on your unique interests, but we must inform you that the tree is protected under the California Endangered Species Act, so no basket weaving or furniture building are allowed. The California Fish and Game Commission accepted a petition for the tree’s protection status in late September 2020. This status protects the tree for one year while the Commission conducts research to determine if the tree should remain on the protected list. While you visit, remember to respect the land and leave no trace. Happy visiting!