Flora / Fauna, Joshua Tree National Park

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  • Flora / Fauna
    by JLBG
  • Flora / Fauna
    by JLBG
  • Flora / Fauna
    by JLBG
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    Buds of Teddy Bear cactus

    by JLBG Written May 15, 2005

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    Favorite thing: This photo shows buds of Teddy Bear cactus. I do not know for sure if they are flower buds or new segments buds. I feel they are more likely to be flower buds. I should have come back a few weeks later to check but unfortunately could not !

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    Individual Teddy Bear cactus

    by JLBG Written May 15, 2005

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    Favorite thing: The Teddy Bear cactus grows naturally in dry, rocky desert slopes in the Sonoran Desert of western Arizona, southern Nevada and southeastern California between 100 and 5,000 feet of elevation. It can reach a height of 5 -9 feet.

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    More Teddy Bear cactus in cactus garden

    by JLBG Written May 15, 2005

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    Favorite thing: Said to resemble the fuzzy arms and legs of a Teddy Bear, it can be distinguished by its dense, straw-colored spines and yellow to green flowers. The flowers are not shown here as they seem to bloom later than the Beaver tail cactus and I have seen none.

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    Teddy Bear cactus in cactus garden

    by JLBG Written May 15, 2005

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    Favorite thing: This distinctive cholla has a vertical trunk 3 to 5 feet (1-1.5 m) tall with densely-packed horizontal side branches on the upper foot (30 cm) or so. Older, lower side branches die and fall off. The joints are very densely spined, very little of the living surface can be seen through its armor. The spines are especially sharp and strongly-barbed. Young spines are yellow and become black with age.

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    Beavertail cactus

    by JLBG Written May 15, 2005

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    Favorite thing: Beavertail cactus Opuntia basilaris is a very common cactus in Joshua Tree National Park. It grows naturally in dry, rocky desert slopes in the Mohave and Sonoran deserts of southeastern California, southwestern Utah and western Arizona. It is also well known as an indoor plant all over the world. Everybody that have once grown indoor plant has grown a Beavertail cactus, which means that it is easy to grow and requires little care. However, at home, Beavertail cactus seldom gives flowers. Only the wise indoor gardeners get them. They are splendid bright red flowers 2 to 3 inches wide with many petals and in the wild, in Joshua Tree National Park, in April, all plants were blooming (it blooms from March to June).

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    Mohave Yucca, close-up on individual flowers

    by JLBG Written May 15, 2005

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    Favorite thing: Flowers of the Yucca genus, including both the Joshua Tree and Mohave Yucca, depend on the small, white Pronuba Moth for pollination. This moth, in addition to gathering pollen, actually deposits her eggs in the ovary of the yucca flowers. The Pronuba larvae feed on the developing fruit, but leave some seeds to mature.

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    Mohave Yucca, a cluster in full bloom

    by JLBG Written May 15, 2005

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    Favorite thing: Traditionally, yucca has been used orally to treat arthritis and related ailments such as bursitis and gout. Although little research supports the specific use of yucca for treating arthritis, some researchers believe that saponins generally may interfere with the production of a chemical that keeps the body from making new cartilage for joints.

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    Mohave Yucca in full bloom

    by JLBG Written May 15, 2005

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    Favorite thing: Although no well-controlled human studies have been conducted to verify them, a few animal studies and case reports suggest a limited role for oral yucca in treating both cardiovascular and high cholesterol levels. Yucca contains resveratrol, a proven antioxidant. In addition, it contains a high percentage of saponins that might prevent cholesterol absorption and promote its elimination.

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    Mohave Yucca, close-up on individual buds

    by JLBG Written May 15, 2005

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    Favorite thing: This close-up photo shows a few individuals buds, with its three petals clearly visible. They look almost like china but when you touch them, it is at the same time soft and resistant, almost like plastic !

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    Mohave Yucca, a young cluster

    by JLBG Written May 15, 2005

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    Favorite thing: This photo shows a young cluster of Mohave Yucca. The flowers are not yet in full bloom. The cluster is very hard and compact. The human hand shows the size of the cluster which can weight up to ten kilograms..

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    Mohave Yucca, a bud

    by JLBG Written May 15, 2005

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    Favorite thing: This photo shows a bud of the Mohave Yucca. After some time, it should grow to a cluster of white or purplish-white bell-shaped flowers between 1 and 2 inches long as can be seen in the following pictures.

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    Mohave Yucca, close-up on the fibers

    by JLBG Written May 15, 2005

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    Favorite thing: The leaves of the Mohave Yucca are highly fibrous. Native Indians made cordage (yarn) from yucca and agave, the Indians cut the leaves with a thin, saw-like stone blade. Then, using a heavy rock scraper, they stripped the flesh from the leaves, baring the fiber. Masses of fiber were twisted on a spindle whorl or rolled between hand and thigh to create long strings. Cordage was woven into fabric on looms or braided by hand and sewn.

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    Mohave Yucca, close-up on the leaves

    by JLBG Written May 15, 2005

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    Favorite thing: This close-up shows better how sharp the leaves of the Mohave Yucca can be. Pay attention when you touch it ! Native Indians used the spike ends of Mohave yucca leaves as a needdle, leaving the attached stringy fiber as thread.

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    Mohave Yucca, the leaves

    by JLBG Written May 15, 2005

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    Favorite thing: Mohave Yucca is an evergreen shrub or small tree which has a few upright branches and bayonet-like leaves (hence its names of Dagger Plant or of Spanish Bayonet) from 2 to 4 feet long and 1-1/2 inches wide. The leaves have markedly filamentous edges

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    Mohave Yucca, the trunk

    by JLBG Written May 15, 2005

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    Favorite thing: The trunk of the Mohave Yucca is grayish-brown and 6 to 12 inches in diameter. Most of the trunk is generally covered by old, dry leaves. Although old plants may produce a trunk up to 2.5m tall, stemless rosettes are also common.

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