Pinto Basin Road Renovation
Pinto Basin Road is being renovated. On weekdays you may encounter travel delays of up to 30 minutes. Cholla Cactus Garden is closed on weekdays. Cottonwood Visitor Center hours are 9 to 4 on weekdays, 8 to 4 weekends. More »
Rattlesnake Canyon Remains Closed
To provide additional time to mitigate the vandalism, Rattlesnake Canyon will remain completely closed to the public until further notice. More »
Plant communities, or what we call "associations," describe groupings of various plant species that are often dependent upon latitude, soil characteristics, and elevation. Using these descriptions makes it easier to understand why certain plants only grow in certain places; it also helps to identify plants in unfamiliar terrain.
Plant associations within the park are divided into tree-dominated, shrub-dominated, herbaceous-dominated, and sparse/non-vegetated. Each association is named after the most conspicuous plant in the landscape.
Tree-dominated plant associations in Joshua Tree include: California juniper, singleleaf pinyon, Joshua tree, desert willow, ironwood, California fan palm, blue palo verde, smoketree, Gooding willow, Freemont cottonwood, and mesquite
Shrub-dominated associations are the most diverse group, numbering 49. Mormon tea, creosote bush, creosote bush/white bursage, blackbrush, brittlebush, cheesebush, Mojave yucca, teddy-bear cholla, and desert almond are just a few examples
Herbaceous-dominated associations are those communities that are mostly comprised of species like perennial bunch grasses or annual grasslands. Joshua Tree has two herbaceous-dominated associations: big galleta grass and cheatgrass.
Sparse associations include non-vegetated areas (e.g. desert pavement, rock outcrops, dunes, playas, washes, and disturbed areas) and areas with less than two percent shrub cover. These areas may be dominated by annual wildflowers during moist years, but normally appear devoid of vegetation.
Did You Know?
In the high desert country that was to become Joshua Tree National Park, rugged individuals tried their luck at cattle ranching, mining, and homesteading. William Keys and his family are particularly representative of the hard work and ingenuity it took to settle and prosper in the Mojave Desert. More...