Meaning of Joshua tree in English:

Joshua tree

Pronunciation /ˈdʒɒʃjʊə/


  • 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

    ‘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.’
    • ‘Its vascular structure and secondary growth are not unlike those found in the Joshua tree.’
    • ‘Those of Y. brevifolia, the Joshua tree yucca, are best if parboiled first, to remove bitterness.’
    • ‘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.’


Mid 19th century apparently from Joshua (Josh. 8:18), the plant being likened to a man brandishing a spear.