Mojave Desert Plants

The Creosote Bush

 The Creosote Bush grows in areas that are very hot and dry. The soil can be almost pure sand. When it competes for water with another plant it almost always wins. It loses little moisture from its tiny curled leaves.

The Joshua Tree

The Joshua Tree is found only in the dry Mojave desert on slopes above 2,000 feet. Often found in groves, this spiked-leafed evergreen grows from 15-40 feet high and as much as 3 feet around.


The Mojave Yucca

The Mojave Yucca is also called the Spanish Dagger because it has long, narrow leaves with needle-like points at the ends. It grows on rocky slopes and the hot desert floor.

Desert Paintbrush

Desert Paintbrush grows in dry, open soil. It has tiny leaves and flowers and blooms from April to August.

Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly Pear Cactus grows in most of the deserts of America. It has large, sharp spines that stick out from thick, water-holding pads that look like leaves but are really wide stems.

To learn more about desert plants, visit these websites:

Desert Plant Survival This website tells how desert plants live with very little water.

Desert Plant Archive This website has lots of pictures of desert plants and links to other cool web sites about the Mojave desert.


You are a botanist who has been asked to breed a plant to grow in the desert to prevent soil erosion on desert slopes. Study the desert plants above and describe the characteristics of a plant you think would grow best in the Mojave desert.


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