These iPhone snapshots are of a 'mutant' joshua tree cluster on the property of a dear friend and fellow artist's home. Supposedly these are a mutant variety, maybe +/- 4% of all joshua trees are like this. There were several of these growing on his property. I found them rather M. C. Escher-esqe......
What do you think?
This cluster seems happy in this spot. At the base, you can see new 'pups' growing (or maybe those are rhizomes....my joshua tree fact booklet is at school so forgive my temporary inaccuracy. I remember a ranger long ago using both terms for the various stages of growth.)
The property owner said these are growing over the leach lines of his septic tank. Hm....perhaps that is why they are mutants....?
All photos © Diana Shay Diehl 2012 (Taken with an iPhone)
The above shot is one of more 'normal' joshua trees. The life expectancy of the average joshua tree is about 150 years. They will often germinate under a 'nurse' plant for about 4 years for protection from predation. Then, the new plant will take over the nurse plant which is why you usually see the joshua tree growing solo - meaning more apart from the rest. There are clusters scattered around as well. I liken it to a nature family sharing space rather than a take over of the host plant.
More on joshua trees in another post. These are most fascinating plants in form and habit.