Along our drive through the northern portion of the Chihuahuan Desert, I could see large clusters of white blossoms on top of spiked plants, but none were near enough to the road for me to guess what they might be.

I was thrilled to find that there were many of these stunning plants right next to the pathways surrounding Carlsbad Caverns and I felt very fortunate to be in the area during the short typical blooming time of April to May.

I’ve since learned that these are Mojave Yucca (or Spanish Dagger) and are native to the Mojave Desert, the Sonoran Desert, and the Chihuahuan Desert. How could something so beautiful survive in such harsh conditions? This was adaptation at it’s finest. At least this is what I believed so far (more about this in tomorrow’s post).

Native Americans of these areas have found many uses for this plant, inclusive of: making rope, cloth, thread, and sandals. The flowers and fruit are eaten either raw or roasted, and the black seeds are ground into a flour. The roots are used to make soap. Some reports claim that Native Americans wash their hair with yucca and it’s also used to treat a number of maladies. Researchers have also found that the ingestion of this plant has decreased the blood cholesterol of humans and chickens, increased vitamin and mineral absorption in animals, and increased cattle reproduction.

Photo Note: The original photo was reasonably good, considering that it was shot in the bright noonday sun. There were a few distractions in the background, so after tweaking the white balance and exposure in Snapseed, I took the photo into the FOCOS app where I adjusted the aperture enough to blur those background images and add a bit of bokeh. I do so much editing in Snapseed that often forget about this effective app for post processing.

“A flower blooming in the desert proves to the world that adversity, no matter how great, can be overcome.”

Matshona Dhliwayo