Neltuma glandulosa, formerly Prosopis glandulosa, commonly known as honey mesquite,[4] is a species of small to medium-sized, thorny shrub[5] or tree in the legume family (Fabaceae).

Prosopis glandulosa
Foliage with seedpods

Secure  (NatureServe)[2]
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Clade: Mimosoid clade
Genus: Prosopis
P. glandulosa
Binomial name
Prosopis glandulosa

Prosopis glandulosa var. glandulosa
Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana[3]

Natural range

Prosopis juliflora var. glandulosa (Torr.)

Neltuma glandulosa' (Torr.)

Distribution edit

The plant is primarily native to the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico. Its range extends on the northeast through Texas and into southwestern Kansas and Oklahoma and northwestern Louisiana (the South Central states), and west to southern California.[3]

It can be part of the Mesquite Bosque plant association community in the Sonoran Desert ecoregion of California and Arizona (U.S.), and Sonora state (México), and in the Chihuahuan Desert of New Mexico and Texas in the US, and Chihuahua in Mexico.

Description edit


Neltuma glandulosa has rounded, big and floppy, drooping branches with feathery foliage and straight, paired thorns 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.

It flowers from March to November, with pale, yellow, elongated spikes and bears straight seedpods, which are yellow or maroon. The seeds are eaten by a variety of animals, such as scaled quail. Other animals, including deer, collared peccaries, coyotes, cactus mice, and jackrabbits, feed on both pods and vegetation.[6]

Varieties edit

Invasive species edit

Prosopis glandulosa has been intentionally introduced into at least a half-dozen countries, including Australia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.[9] The IUCN considers it as one of the world's 100 worst invasive species outside its native habitat range.[10][11]

The seeds are disseminated by livestock that graze on the sweet pods, and the shrubs can invade grasslands, with cattlemen regarding mesquites as range weeds to be eradicated.[12] Due to latent buds underground, permanent removal is difficult. Cutting them will only coppice them: A single-trunked tree that is cut down will soon be replaced by a multi-trunked version.[13]

Uses edit

Prosopis glandulosa shrubs and trees provide shelter and nest building material for wildlife, and produce seed pods in abundance containing beans that are a seasonal food for diverse birds and small mammal species.[5] As the common name indicates, honey mesquite is a honey plant that supports native pollinator species of bees and other insects, and cultivated honey bees.[12] It is a larval host for the long-tailed skipper and Reakirt's blue butterflies.

Mesquite flour is high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and can be used in recipes as a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.

Within its native range, its wood smoke is used to flavor meats when cooked over a mesquite fire. This is particularly popular in Texas in the US.

In Namibia, although an invasive species, it has qualities that have made it useful for humans, including: growing extremely rapidly there, having very dense shade, abundantly producing seed pods, and a readily available firewood.[14]

Indigenous peoples edit

The indigenous peoples of California and southwestern North America use parts of Prosopis glandulosa as a medicinal plant, food source, building and tools material, and fuel.[15] The Cahuilla eat the blossoms and pods, which were ground into meal for cake.[16][17] The Pueblo peoples of New Mexico in the southwest United States use the seeds to produce mesquite flour for making traditional horno bread.[citation needed] The thorns of the plant are used as tattoo needles, and the ashes for tattoos, by the Cahuilla and Serrano Indians of Southern California.[5] Its dense and durable wood is prized for making tools and arrow points,[5] and for the unique flavor it lends to foods cooked over it. The deep taproots, often larger than the trunks, are dug up for firewood.

This species of mesquite, known as haas (pronounced [ʔaːs]) by the Seri people of northwestern Mexico, is very important for food and nonfood uses. The Seris have specific names for various stages of the growth of the mesquite pod.[18] Historically, it was a very important wild food plant because it fruits even during drought years.[19]

References edit

  1. ^ Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) & IUCN SSC Global Tree Specialist Group (2020). "Prosopis glandulosa". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T49485845A148999704. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-1.RLTS.T49485845A148999704.en. Retrieved 7 October 2022.
  2. ^ "NatureServe Explorer 2.0". Retrieved 9 October 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Prosopis glandulosa". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
  4. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Prosopis glandulosa". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d Marsh Trail Guide, Big Morongo Canyon Preserve
  6. ^ "Prosopis glandulosa Torr" (PDF). International Institute of Tropical Forestry. United States Forest Service. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
  7. ^ "Prosopis glandulosa var. glandulosa". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
  8. ^ "Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
  9. ^ "Prosopis glandulosa (honey mesquite)". Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  10. ^ "100 OF THE WORLD'S WORST INVASIVE ALIEN SPECIES" (PDF). Retrieved 2022-07-16.
  11. ^ "Prosopis glandulosa (tree)". Global Invasive Species Database. Invasive Species Specialist Group. Retrieved 2008-05-01.
  12. ^ a b "Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin". Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  13. ^ Simpson, Benny J. (1988). A Field Guide to Texas Trees. Texas Monthly Press. pp. 244–245. ISBN 0-87719-113-1.
  14. ^ Namibia: Invasive Species a Money-Spinner, Africa:, 2012, retrieved 30 November 2012
  15. ^ "BRIT - Native American Ethnobotany Database". Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  16. ^ "Cahuilla Plants". Retrieved 2012-01-01.
  17. ^ "Temalpakh Ethnobotanical Garden". Archived from the original on 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2007-01-01.
  18. ^ Felger, Richard; Mary B. Moser. (1985). People of the desert and sea: ethnobotany of the Seri Indians. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. ISBN 9780816508181.
  19. ^ "Species: Prosopis glandulosa". Fire Effects Information System. United States Forest Service. Retrieved 2008-05-01.

External links edit