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International Year of Forests

(January 1st, 2011 - December 31st, 2013)

Michael Bajko

Rimutaka Forest Park: 5 Mile Track

G. Donald Bain

Joshua Tree Forest

Lee Flat, Death Valley National Park, California, USA

11 March, 2013 1 pm

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© 2013 G. Donald Bain, All Rights Reserved.

The Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) is the largest member of the lily family. It grows to 30 feet (10 meters) tall. Technically, even the densest growth is a woodland, not a forest, as the treetops do not come close together. Joshua trees, like many other long-lived desert species, always stand apart from each other so their widely spreading roots can gather enough water without competition.

The Joshua tree can be truly tree-like with broad spreading branches, but it is not genetically programmed for this architecture - each bifurcation is the result of an injury to a terminal flower bud. Being monocots, they do not lay down annual rings, so dating of old specimens is not accurate. Reproduction requires assistance from the yucca moth, which deposits pollen as it lays its eggs in the flower bud.

This is the indicator species for the Mojave Desert - if you see Joshua trees you are in the Mojave. Its range is thus mostly in California and southern Nevada, with a strip in western Arizona and one small area in the southwestern corner of Utah.

Joshua Tree National Park, east of Palm Springs, was created to celebrate and to protect the fine woodlands there. The largest "forest" of Joshua trees is at Cima Dome in Mojave National Preserve near Baker.
Enjoy more 360° panoramas of this area on my website - Don Bain's 360° Panoramas of Death Valley.

Don Bain's 360° Panoramas, over 10,000 panoramas of western North America, just type 360panos.com.
Photographed with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 digital SLR with a 7.5mm Rokinon/Samyang fisheye lens, on a Nodal Ninja RS-1 VR mount, Really Right Stuff ballhead, and Really Right Stuff Series 1 carbon-fiber tripod. Stitched with PTGui Pro 9.1 on a MacBook Air, retouched with Photoshop CS3.

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