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The Mojave Desert ( moh-HAH-vee, mə-; Mohave: Hayikwiir Mat'aar) is an arid rain-shadow desert and the driest desert in North America. It is in the North American Southwest, primarily within southeastern California and southern Nevada, and it occupies 47,877 sq mi (124,000 km2). Small areas also extend into Utah and Arizona. Its boundaries are generally noted by the presence of Joshua trees, which are native only to the Mojave Desert and are considered an indicator species, and it is believed to support an additional 1,750 to 2,000 species of plants. The central part of the desert is sparsely populated, while its peripheries support large communities such as Las Vegas, Barstow, Lancaster, Palmdale, Victorville, and St. George.