yucca flowers

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Yucca brevifolia is in the family Agavaceae. Commonly known as the Joshua Tree, it is only found in the Mojave desert of California, Nevada, and Arizona. The Joshua Tree is one of the fastest growing desert plants, able to grow up to 50 feet tall and produce roots that reach dozens of feet down into the soil. Individuals can live for hundreds of years and flower multiple times throughout their life. The production of flowers at the apical meristem causes the Joshua Tree to form branches in order to keep growing, giving this plant its iconic shape.

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Yucca is a genus in the family Agavaceae. Members of this genus have a mutualistic relationship with species of moths, which exclusively pollinate the flowers. The insects in this picture are not the pollinating moths, however. These are beetles in the genus Mycterus, commonly known as yucca beetles. These bugs are attracted to the new flowers of the yucca plant and eat the petals for sustenance. Follow for more plant facts and photos!