Since the 1987 release of The Joshua Tree album,
I, like any other loyal U2 fan, read up on Joshue Trees and dreamed of one day seeing the very tree on the
I learned, for instance, that Joshua trees only grow one
place in the entire world: the Mojave Desert. They prefer
dry soil and often grow in groves. They have an unpleasant
odor and flower occasionally. They rely on the Pronuba Moth
for pollination and are members of the lily (Liliaceae) family.
I even looked into the name. I mean, why "Joshua"
Legend has it that the Mormon pioneers named the tree after
the Old Testament Joshua because it looked like the prophet
waving them, beckoning them to the promised land.
I even learned the history of the Joshua Tree National Park.
It was first named a national monument in 1936 as a result
of the efforts of Mrs. Minerva H. Hoyt who hoped to preserve
the delicate beauty of the desert environment. Then, in 1976,
Congress designated the park as wilderness protecting it from
future development until, finally, Clinton established the
as a national park in 1994.
My next step, of course, was to visit the park and get my
picture taken in front of the legendary tree. Well, you may
not believe this, but the Joshua tree on the cover of the
album is not even located within the Joshua Tree National
Oh nooooo, it's nowheresville between Lancaster and Palmdale,
and, as if that news weren't bad enough
THE TREE IS DEAD.
That's right, you heard me. About two years ago, the tree
fell right over, dead as a doornail.
But a few of the rangers at the Joshua Tree National Park
take pity on the foreign tourists who traveled so far to see
this historic tree. They point one out around the bend that
just so happens to look something like the one in the picture.