Prosopis glandulosa

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Prosopis glandulosa
Foliage with seedpods

Apparently Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Prosopis
Species: P. glandulosa
Binomial name
Prosopis glandulosa

Prosopis glandulosa var. glandulosa
Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana[1]

Prosopis juliflora range map.jpg
Natural range

Prosopis juliflora var. glandulosa (Torr.)


Prosopis glandulosa, commonly known as honey mesquite,[2] is a species of small to medium-sized, thorny shrub[3] or tree in the legume family (Fabaceae). It is native to the Southwestern United States and Mexico, growing as far north as southern Kansas and as far east as the eastern fifth of Texas, where average annual rainfall is in excess of 40 inches (100 cm).[1] It can be part of the Mesquite Bosque plant association community.

It has been introduced to at least a half-dozen other countries. The IUCN considers it as one of the world's 100 worst invasive species outside its native habitat range.[4]

Despite its invasive nature, this tree has an array of features that make it useful: it grows extremely rapidly, has very dense shade, produces a seed pod in abundance that is eaten by animals and humans alike, and it is also readily available firewood.[5]


Honey mesquite has rounded big and floppy, drooping branches with feathery foliage and straight, paired spines on twigs. This tree normally reaches 20–30 ft (6.1–9.1 m), but can grow as tall as 50 ft (15 m). It is considered to have a medium growth rate. Honey mesquite coppices due to latent buds underground, making permanent removal difficult. A single-trunked tree that is cut down will soon be replaced by a multi-trunked version.[6]

It flowers from March to November, with pale, yellow, elongated spikes and bears straight, yellow seedpods. The seeds are eaten by a variety of animals, such as scaled quail. Other animals, including deer, collared peccaries, coyotes, and jackrabbits, feed on both pods and vegetation.[7]


  • Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana (L.D.Benson) M.C.Johnst. (syn. Prosopis juliflora var. torreyana L.D.Benson)[9]


This species of mesquite, known as haas (pronounced [ʔaːs]) by the Seri people of northwestern Mexico, was very important for food and nonfood uses. The Seris had specific names for various stages of the growth of the mesquite pod.[10] Historically, it was a very important wild food plant because it fruits even during drought years.[11] Mesquite flour contains abundant protein and carbohydrates, and can be used in recipes as a substitute for wheat flour. Ethnobotany blogger Deborah Small describes the taste as "a rich, caramel, and nutty flavor."[12] The Cahuilla ate the blossoms and pods, which were ground into meal for cake.[13][14] The thorns of the plant were used as tattoo needles, and the ashes for tattoos, by the Cahuilla and Serrano Indians of Southern California.[3] The hard wood is prized for making tools and arrow points,[3] and for the unique flavor it lends to foods cooked over it. Beans are also a seasonal food for wildlife.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Taxon: Prosopis glandulosa Torr.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 1997-05-22. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  2. ^ "Prosopis glandulosa". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 14 October 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Marsh Trail Guide, Big Morongo Canyon Preserve
  4. ^ "Prosopis glandulosa (tree)". Global Invasive Species Database. Invasive Species Specialist Group. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  5. ^ Namibia: Invasive Species a Money-Spinner, Africa:, 2012, retrieved 30 November 2012 
  6. ^ Simpson, Benny J. (1988). A Field Guide to Texas Trees. Texas Monthly Press. pp. 244–245. ISBN 0-87719-113-1. 
  7. ^ "Prosopis glandulosa Torr." (PDF). International Institute of Tropical Forestry. United States Forest Service. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  8. ^ "Taxon: Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 1997-05-22. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  9. ^ "Taxon: Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana (L. D. Benson) M. C. Johnst.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 1997-05-22. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  10. ^ Felger, Richard; Mary B. Moser. (1985). People of the desert and sea: ethnobotany of the Seri Indians. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. 
  11. ^ "Species: Prosopis glandulosa". Fire Effects Information System. United States Forest Service. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  12. ^ Deborah Small. "Native Cultures: Mesquite Flour". Deborah Small's Ethnobotany Blog. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  13. ^ "Cahuilla Plants". Retrieved 2012. 
  14. ^ "Temalpakh Ethnobotanical Garden". Retrieved 2007. 

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