The planet is full of mysteries the human mind can’t always comprehend. From the intricate design of the planet to the interesting inter-relationships among various species, your mind is blown over and over again as to how we manage to coexist alongside each other, although not always peacefully. Like the Joshua tree, for instance, it has helped shape California’s the Mojave Desert along with its ever faithful companion, the Yucca moths. The symbiotic (win-win) relationship between various species has helped fill the world with living things big and small that live alongside us humans.
It’s funny how even the tiniest of living things can have a big impact on the world. In this case, the Yucca moth helped the Joshua tree pollinate and in the process co-evolved. Experts attest to the fact that their relationship has been going on for years as both need one another for survival. Yucca moth caterpillars only have the Joshua tree seeds for sustenance and the latter won’t be able to thrive without the aid of the moths in pollination.
But in the vast world of plants and their pollinators, there was one example that Darwin deemed the “most wonderful case of fertilisation ever published” in a letter to botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker. This was the curious case of the Joshua tree and the yucca moth.
We’ll start with the Joshua tree, the Mojave Desert’s most iconic plant. With its spiny fronds and clubbed tufts topped by pungent, waxy flowers twisting towards the desert sky, this desert-adapted shrub has a reputation for otherworldliness. Everyone who passes through the desert remembers the majestic Joshua tree; its namesake has inspired artists, filmmakers and many a sojourner in search of transcendence.
Few travelers, however, wax poetic about its evolutionary partner, the yucca moth. The small, dun bug is initially unassuming, but upon closer inspection, it is an equally extraterrestrial match for the iconic Joshua tree. Instead of a regular mouthpiece, it sports bizarre, tentacle-like fronds, the likes of which are unique among insects—and serve an essential purpose in the desert ecosystem.
The world works in mysterious ways, indeed. There are many things that happen around us that we are totally clueless of because some are so minuscule we can’t possibly see it with our naked eyes but they contribute greatly to the planet. The humble Joshua tree managed to survive for years just with the help of the Yucca moth and same with the latter.
Some 2 million people flock to southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park every year to see its namesake flora and experience its unforgiving desert environment—but those who leave before sundown are missing out. At night the sky comes alive with stars and now it is being officially recognized as an “International Dark Sky Park,” a designation given by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) to “a land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment.”
As Desert Sun, a subsidiary of USA Today, reported, Joshua Tree will officially join the list of over 50 other Dark Sky Parks around the world, which draw stargazers and astronomers for clear views of our galaxy, at a ceremony at Joshua Tree’s Copper Mountain College on August 12. So why doesn’t every remote outpost around the world get the designation? To be a designated Dark Sky Park, the communities that surround it have to actively contribute to minimizing light pollution.
Aside from the rich history and nature of the tree itself, the place where this tree only grows is also famous as an “International Dark Sky Park” – meaning it is a great place to watch starry nights. It is more reason to head to this renowned park, if not to see the Joshua tree up close but to experience what it is like to see the night-sky away from the blinding city lights. The residents living nearby do their part in ensuring there is little light traffic in the place to preserve its natural light once night time falls.
While trees are welcome in the far rural areas of California where the Joshua tree grows, it’s not the same in San Diego. Some trees can be a bother to the residents, which is why it needs to be removed. For times like this, contact a professional here: http://www.allcleartree.com/removal because you may get hurt cutting down a tree if you do not know what you are doing. Better let the pros deal with it and wait for all the mess to be cleared after. Trees serve their purpose, so when they don’t anymore it is fine to take them down.
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