Yucca plants grow in the rockier areas of the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts in southern California, Baja California, western Arizona and southern Nevada. Yucca plants also grow in the hot and arid areas of Central and South America and the Caribbean, and some species grow as far north as Alberta, Canada.
Yucca plants live in creosote flats in habitats known as creosote brush scrub at altitudes below 7,000 feet. In this habitat, the plants are spaced widely apart on flat, dry land that gets between 2 and 8 inches of rain a year.
The yucca tree actually belongs to the same family as the asparagus. There are about 40 to 50 species of yucca plant, all known for their rosettes of hard, blade-like leaves. The creamy white flowers are borne on panicles and pollinated by yucca moths. With the Mojave yucca, the pronuba moth not only pollinates the flowers but lays her eggs in the ovaries of the plant. The fruit of this yucca, which is a berry, is also edible. Other yuccas have edible leaves, seeds and stems.
The Joshua tree is the largest of the yuccas. It grows between 15 and 40 feet tall and lives as long as 150 years.