Why is the arborescent tree yucca (Yucca brevifolia) called the Joshua tree? I have it on good authority that a group of Mormons was laboring across the trackless wastes, under a blazing sun, when they entered a Yucca brevifolia forest. Out of nowhere a cloud blocked the sun. In their ecstasy, the pioneers proclaimed the strange plants Joshua trees, referencing the Old Testament prophet who called on God block the sun. Indeed, the tufted branches resemble an old, robed prophet imploring the heavens with raised hands.
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