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Published on Jan 11, 2006
Two deserts, two large ecosystems whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation, come together at Joshua Tree National Park. Below 3,000 feet, the Colorado Desert encompasses the eastern part of the park and features natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo, and cholla cactus. The higher, moister, and slightly cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the Joshua tree. For a first-time visitor the desert may appear bleak and drab. Viewed from the road, the desert only hints at its vitality. Closer examination reveals a fascinating variety of plants and animals. Joshua trees (yucca brevifolia) are found only in North America in the states of California, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. One of the most beautiful spectacles in spring is the creamy white blossoms of blooming Joshua trees. These white candles can be seen from February to late April. Joshua trees do not branch until after they bloom and they don’t bloom every year.
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