"If Joshua trees
could survive those conditions, they would already be in them," said Sweet.
During this time of scarce monitoring, some visitors have been cutting down Joshua Trees
to create new roads across areas of virgin desert.
Since then, groups of citizen scientists (including mine) have continued assisting park staff in surveying Joshua trees
, and Frakes expects to have data on 19 different 500-by-500-meter plots by June.
If fruit mobilization is a widespread phenomenon in Joshua trees
, seed dispersal distances for this arborescent succulent may be greater if, in addition to fruit displacement, seeds are re-cached multiple times.
The first time I visited Joshua Tree
several years ago, I was struck by how the harsh environment and unforgiving--yet beautiful--landscape somehow seemed to invite creativity.
When I look out at the view to the horizon, at the Joshua trees
in full bloom, at the red-tipped ocotillo, the world suddenly becomes too big in a glance.
And it's one reason why people flock to the desert, and the Joshua Tree
National Park - just a two-hour drive from celebrity-saturated Los Angeles, yet still a world away.
California's Joshua Tree
National Park is an 800,000-acre preserve where the Mojave and Colorado deserts come together, about 140 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.
These landmarks demarcate a significant geological and cultural cleavage: Toward the right is Route 111 and the dubious glamour of Palm Springs; toward the left, a half hour away, is the upper or "high" desert of Joshua Tree
and Twentynine Palms, location of U2's epiphanies, Gram Parsons's fatal overdose and surreptitious cremation, and the country's largest Marine Corps training facility, the Air-Ground Combat Center.
The musician's embrace of this land is understandable to those who have explored its singular terrain, from its forests of Joshua trees
to the sheer faces of its boulders.
The champion Joshua tree
was probably alive in 1857 when the Mormons migrated, but its exact age will never be known because Joshua trees
, like palm trees, have no growth rings.