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41. The Joshua Tree

    In the 1840s the Mormons, who are a religious group, traveled west searching for a new home. Many Mormons lived in the state of Illinois. But they had been badly treated and finally were forced to leave. As the Mormons traveled through the desert they became discouraged. Then they saw a strange tree. The tree's branches stretched out like arms. The Mormons thought the tree looked like Joshua, a hero from the Bible. The Mormons thought the arms of the tree were telling them to continue on their way, so they did. They found a new home in the state of Utah. In Utah they saw trees like the one in the desert. They called them "Joshua trees."

    The Joshua tree was very useful. The Indians of the West used almost all its parts. They ate not only the fruit of the tree, but also its seeds and white blossoms. They used its leaves for shoes. From its roots they made baskets and colors for clothes.

    Settlers in the West used the Joshua tree for firewood and fences. Unfortunately, they often needed to cut down the trees. Some of the trees were as tall as fifty feet. These trees were 700 or 800 years old. The Joshua tree grows very slowly. It grows only about one inch a year.

    By the beginning of the 1900s, most Joshua trees had been cut down. People were sad that this strange tree had almost disappeared. In 1936 the Joshua Tree National Monument was established in California. It has many kinds of interesting desert plants, including, of course, many Joshua trees. None of these Joshua trees are fifty feet. But perhaps someday they will be.



1. Who are the Mormons?
a. A religious group
b. Scientists
c. Tourists

2. Why did the Mormons become discouraged?
a. Because of the fight
b. Because of their finding
c. Because of the journey

3. What did the Mormons find in the desert?
a. An unusual flower
b. A strange tree
c. An animal

4. Who was Joshua?
a. A national hero
b. A Bible hero
c. One of the Mormons

5. What is true about the Joshua trees?
a. It grows very slowly.
b. It grows very difficult.
c. It’s artificial.

6. Where can we see the Joshua trees now?
a. In one of the American National Monuments
b. Everywhere
c. In deserts

7. What is the synonym for the word ‘fences’ (paragraph 3)?
a. Barriers
b. Houses
c. Weapons
d. Attractions

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