One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A yucca which grows as a tree and has clusters of spiky leaves, native to arid regions of south-western North America.
Yucca brevifolia, family Agavaceae
- ‘One day my friend Rufus, his son, and I were about 1 1/2 miles up the Boy Scout Trail, surrounded by 25-foot-tall Joshua trees - tall candelabra cactus with spiny caps atop grossly contorted branches.’
- ‘Its vascular structure and secondary growth are not unlike those found in the Joshua tree.’
- ‘It searches among the yucca cactuses and Joshua trees for a lonely radar station atop a mountain peak.’
- ‘Add to this the abundance of dangerous flora and fauna - cacti, yucca plants, Joshua trees, rattlesnakes, scorpions, and spiders - and the propensity for injury when training on ground combat skills increases dramatically.’
- ‘Those of Y. brevifolia, the Joshua tree yucca, are best if parboiled first, to remove bitterness.’
Mid 19th century: apparently from Joshua (Josh. 8:18), the plant being likened to a man brandishing a spear.
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