Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa)

Family: Fabaceae

Honey Mesquite

The Honey Mesquite, is small flowering tree in the legume family, Fabaceae. It is native to the Southwestern United States and Mexico our trees were raised from seeds collected from cultivated trees in Arizona. This tree has an array of features that make it useful: it grows extremely rapidly, has very dense shade, produces a seed pod that is eaten by animals and humans alike, being a legume, it fixes nitrogen in the soil where it grows and it provides a quick source of firewood. Mesquite wood burns slowly and very hot. When used to barbecue, the smoke from the wood adds a distinct rich flavor to the food. Mesquite-wood roasting or grilling is used to smoke-flavor steaks, chicken, pork, and fish. The tree is very tolerant of drought and poor soil and will bloom and produce seed under adverse condition which has resulted in it becoming become invasive in other countries. When cut down Honey Mesquite produces sprouts from underground buds and will grow back with new trunks.

The flowers are pale, yellow, elongated spikes and it bears straight, yellow seedpods. A variety of animals use both its seed and foliage as a food source where it is native. The Seri Indians use it for food. Mesquite flour contains protein, and can be used in recipes as a substitute for wheat flour. The flour has what has been described as having a taste with a rich, caramel, and nutty flavor. Mesquite is attractive but its use as an ornamental is limited due to its thorns.