Blooming Joshuas~

This is the first time I have ever seen Joshua Trees in bloom!

These trees were recently designated an endangered species by The California Fish & Game Commission.

They are vulnerable because they exist in a limited area in The Southwestern US and Baja California. Their range is mostly contained by the boundaries of the Mojave Desert. This habitat is under pressure from development and climate change.

Joshua Trees are pollinated by Yucca Moths. Desert habitat is sensitive and species are interdependent.

Interestingly, in the distant past, Joshua’s were pollinated by Giant Sloths!

Humans have lived in The Mojave Desert for about 12,000 years.

Pictographs, cryptic messages from the past, can be found throughout this region.

Cheers to you from the fascinating Mojave~

201 thoughts on “Blooming Joshuas~

    1. Good question. These are young blooms. They will open up as they mature, something I have never seen. So much desert life has already been destroyed. I share your hopes about the amazing Joshuas დ

  1. Well, aren’t we fortunate that you have photographed these flowers and shared them with your readers. What a joy it is to see them.

  2. Wow! Thank you for sharing your photos of the blooming Joshuas. And the pictographs are so interesting. I wonder what the human figure is wearing? Or is it supposed to be a shield? Cheers.

  3. Used to visit that area a lot in the 60s. We camped near the national monument every year during high school. I’ve never seen them bloom. Great photos. Thanks.

      1. Timothy Price

        We have a lot of petroglyphs also that are now the Petroglyph National Monument. Human need to tag surfaces seems to be part of our DNA.

    1. Fascinating question. I don’t know about any fragrance. Joshua trees are tall and the blooms are on the end of the branches so I couldn’t reach them დ

  4. Oh, wow, Cindy, this is fascinating! We might think of ‘desert’ as a dead place of heat and dryness, but it’s so much more than that, huh? Thanks for bringing it close to those of us who aren’t able right now to see it for themselves!

    1. So happy you enjoyed Debbie. Deserts are remarkable and always full of surprises. They appear so hostile and desolate, but in fact they host a stunning variety of flora and fauna დ

  5. I had no idea these bloomed! And the fact that sloths helped them at one time – just changed my opinion about sloths!
    Fascinating – gorgeous. Thanks so much, my friend.

    1. Yes. It is beyond terrible and has been going on for years now. Last night we went to sleep with smoke in the skies. There is another fire, in a seemingly endless series of them.

  6. I was there in 2008, about this time of year, and saw the wonderful blooms. I have since learned that the seeds of these trees were stratified inside the digestive system of the sloths, then spread through the feces. Very few animals today can do that. Also, there is one main pollinator – a little white moth. Recently, there were terrible fires that wiped out a large existing stand of Joshua trees, and because of climate change, it’s difficult for them to expand their territory quickly enough. I’m always so sad (well, “sad” doesn’t quite say it, really) to see all the beautiful creatures and plants on our wonderful Earth disappearing because humans are selfish and short-sighted.

    1. The way we treat this earth is tragic. So many of the desert creatures I played with as a child, horny toads, kangaroo rats, desert toads, tarantulas, the list goes on and on, are now never seen and seriously endangered. People who don’t value and protect the natural world are killing all of us, and they don’t care.

  7. A brilliant post about a plant I didn’t know anything about. You had me scurrying over the internet to find more information!!! Thank you, Cindy, for another stellar post.

    1. They are fascinating trees. I love seeing them carpet the desert up to the horizon. It looks like an alien landscape. I hope you are safe and well my friend დ

  8. OMGosh! I have NEVER seen a Joshua tree in bloom. How utterly exciting! Great photos. Thanks for sharing these delights from the Mojave! 💞

  9. I had no idea that Joshua trees were considered endangered. I’ve seen them when visiting my brother near Ridgecrest, and they are kind of otherworldly. Very cool you’ve seen them blooming.

    1. It is a sad development. So much desert life has become close to extinction. Joshua Trees are vulnerable because they live in a relatively small area that has become popular for retirement housing development, and because of California’s extended drought and subsequent fires. დ

      1. Not to mention the damage that was done with swarms of nasty tourists during the government shutdown some years ago (when the National Park staff was furloughed!!!) It didn’t get a whole lot of coverage, but I remember reading about folks (vandals) going out and cutting down those many, many year old Joshua Trees… it was horrifying. 🥴

        1. Yes. I read about it to. A celebrity, during this time when rangers were furloughed due to covid, had her photo taken, sitting in the branches of a Joshua tree. She most likely killed the tree.

    1. It could, couldn’t it. Maybe The Yeti tired of hiding in the snow, and big footed it to the desert. But the truth is, the desert will never tell დ

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    1. I am so pleased you find the desert fascinating Derrick and thank you. The desert has been a source of continuous fascination to me since I was a child. There were many more creatures living in the desert back then which is sad დ

  12. Believe it or not Cindy, I’ve seen this blooming tree for the first time either. The difference is, you could see it in real life and I’ve seen it thanks to you on your lovely picture. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  13. The bloom looks very complex in arrangement. Considering the whole tree and the shape of the bloom, I think they both looking very nice. I hope they continue to thrive well. Is there anyone trying to use the plant in any shape or form? I think that can be a potential threat.

    1. They are complex, ancient trees, but are fragile. They are killed and cleared in certain areas for development. I hope that the current protections stop this and that the continued drought in the southwest doesn’t stress them past the point of return დ

  14. I have never even seen a Joshua Tree and now I get to see one in bloom through your lens! 🙂 I didn’t know that they are designated an endangered species now. 🙁


  15. Curtr Mekemson

    I find Joshua Trees impressive, Cindy. Anything that can thrive in a desert impresses me. The photos add a touch of beauty. Peggy and I are in Flagstaff now and will be going on a petroglyph Hunt tomorrow.

  16. This is also (through your gorgeous photos), the first time I’ve seen Joshua Trees in bloom, thank you for my first! It’s thought-provoking to imagine that our humans who lived 12,000 years ago saw the same type of blooms you’ve shown us. One can’t help but wonder what their cryptic messages were trying to convey to us. What wisdom we’ve lost. But like Bertrand Russell has said, “The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”

    1. Yes, it is amazing and wonderful to think of the people from the distant past. The Holler has a group of metates from thousands of years ago. Incredible. I love Bertrand Russell and his perfectly wonderful quote! Thank you for sharing this and for your thoughtful comments დ

  17. What a joy to behold here, Cindy. I love Joshua trees and how wonderfully crazy to see their blooms! I can’t imagine I will ever see this in person, so the photos were a real treat. Also interesting to hear they were once pollinated by the sloths, and to see the petroglyph drawings as well.

    1. So happy you show you something new my friend. I had never seen them blooming before either and was quite fascinated. Cheers to you and thanks for stopping by დ

  18. Didn’t know they bloomed. My parents had another species (very different) in front of their house with very similar flowers. One day a lady rang the door and asked if she could take the flowers. It seems it’s a delicacy in Mexico. Forgot the name of the plant.
    Wonderful pictures. Thanks Cindy.

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