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Mesquite, Velvet Mesquite

Prosopis velutina

Details & Attributes


Plant Type(s) Tree, perennial
Native to Arizona Yes!
Water Needs Low
Sun Full sun
Pollinators Bees
Has Spines Yes
Size
In relative feet, width by height
30-50 × 30-50
Freeze Tolerant No
Flowering Season April-July
Flower Color Creamy white
Minimum Temperature Range 10 °F
Leaf Description Bipinnate (having leaflets that are further subdivided), dark green, deciduous (drops leaves in winter)
Fruit Legume (bean)
View on SEINet View SEINet Entry
Range Map View SEINet Range Map
Ethnobotany Mesquite Beans were an extremely important food source for wildlife and humans. The pods were harvested before summer rains and ground into a delicious, sweet, flour.
Description The essential and indispensible tree for residents of southern and central Arizona. Mesquites can anchor a landscape by providing shade, blooms, edible pods, and nutrient rich mulch for nearby plants. Like many members of the Bean family, mesquites have a relationship with a bacteria which captures nitrogen from the air and converts it into forms that plants can use. The upshot is that the foliage, flowers, and pods that Mesquites shed are rich in nitrogen and can be left where they fall or moved to parts of the yard where they can contribute to a more fertile soil for other species to thrive in. These deciduous trees are great for cooling down a space in the summer and allowing sunlight in during the winter months. Many plants will do well planted near the edge of a mesquite canopy where the harsh sun will be diffused through dense foliage. Be aware when purchasing mesquites that many nurseries sell hybridized cultivars which can be more prone to limb drop, or blowing over in storms. Check with your local nursery and ask about the sources and characteristics of their mesquites before buying.