Long before the “U2” album, I was in awe of Joshua Trees. The trees are a type of Yucca plant and first were named by the Mormons traveling through the Mojave desert who said the plant reminded them of Joshua from the Old Testament. In the story of the Israelites going through the Sinai on their way to Canan were led by the prophet, Joshua held up his arm for hours in prayer. The upward-pointing branches of this plant were taken as a sign of their blessing on their pilgrimage.
The trees are very slow-growing and hearty. They symbolize perseverance and determination despite the heat and in this case cold. It can get very cold in the Mojave at times. The oldest Joshua Tree on record is over millennia in age. Bono had originally wanted U2’s album to be called “The two America’s” but after driving through the Mojave, he was so moved by the spiritual quality of these trees he renamed the album. The first time I actually saw them was driving through Nevada. Given how barren the terrain around me was, these trees really stand out. I can see why he was moved by them.