These young fan palms are seeking the light from between the giant trunks of their ancient ancestors. There are a number of oases in this part of the Mojave Desert–this one resulting from volcanic activity near the southern entrance to Joshua Tree National Park which created a beautiful spring known as Cottonwood Spring. This area features a variety of plants and trees,including cottonwoods, and the native Fan Palm. These palms are long-lived, and form a berry (which tastes like a date) which is used by wildlife and was a staple of the Indian inhabitants of this region hundreds of years ago. When not pruned by gardeners–i.e., in their natural state–the palm trunks remain covered by prior years’ wilted foliage which builds up a shaggy protective layer several feet thick. Click on image to enlarge.