Jaeger’s Joshua Trees

May 18, 2015 – Matt Markworth

I headed out south of Las Vegas with GPS coordinates loaded in based on some big crown spreads I found by looking on Google Maps. I parked my car and spent about 5 hours hitting the most promising coordinates and thoroughly enjoying the warm, desert sun and the fascinating Joshua trees.

I had read there were scattered singleleaf pinyon pines in the area and I had a hunch that those were some of the crown spreads I was seeing on the aerial map. That held true for the first couple coordinates, but then I got into some amazing huge-crowned Jaeger’s Joshua trees.

Yucca brevifolia var. jaegeriana is shorter and branches lower compared to Yucca brevifolia var. brevifolia. This paper does a nice job of explaining the difference between the two and also has a range map: http://scholarship.claremont.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1050&context=aliso

On this day I would see four singleleaf pinyon pines and literally thousands of Jaeger’s Joshua trees (hereafter referred to as simply Joshua trees). Here are the measurements from the first half of my walk before I got into the huge-crowned Joshua trees:

Joshua TreesCactus with Joshua trees on Horizon
(girth) x (height) x (spread)
5’4″ @ 2′ x 25.5′ x 24′
5’1″ @ 3.5′ x 28′
4’2″ @ 2′ x 24.5′
28′
27.5′
26′
26′
25.5′
24.5′
24.5′
24′
22′
22′
21.5′
21.5′

Singleleaf Pinyon Pines
5’10.5″ @ 6″ x 26′
13′

Gradually descending about 200’ to an elevation of about 4400’, I finally got into the most promising area – a dense grove of old-growth Joshua trees. With a gallon of water in my backpack, sunscreen applied, and measuring equipment in hand, there was no place I would rather have been.

They branch so low that it’s hard to determine if multiple trunks could have been present a long time ago. The girths were taken at the skinniest spot below the lowest branch. Here are the measurements from this area. Many of these trees easily beat the current Nevada Joshua tree points champion.

Joshua Trees
9′ @ 1’3″ x 22.8′ x 29′
8’11” @ 1’5″
8’5″ @ 1′
8’3″ @ 1’2″ x 23.5′ x 28′
8’2″ @ 1’6″
7’10” @ 1’6″
7′ @ 1’6″ x 23.1′ x 24′
6’7″ @ 2′
6’6″ @ 1’2″ x 28.5′
6’6″ @ 2′
28′
26.5′
25′

Singleleaf Pinyon Pine
6’1″ @ 6″ x 20′ x 38.5′

Joshua Tree and Me

Joshua Tree and Me