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PROSOPIS velutina

Image of Prosopis velutina

Audrey, Eve and George DeLange

Family

Fabaceae

Botanical Name

PROSOPIS velutina

Plant Common Name

Mesquite, Velvet Mesquite

General Description

Native to arid regions of southern Arizona and northern Mexico, this shrubby deciduous tree forms a dense low crown of wickedly spiny branches. Cultivated plants are sometimes limbed up to expose their trunks.

This relatively cold-hardy desert native bears feathery blue green leaves on its spreading to arching branches. Fluffy clusters of tiny yellow sweet-scented flowers appear in spring, attracting honeybees and other pollinators. The edible fruits are large tan pods containing protein-rich seeds. They were a dietary staple of Native Americans, who sometimes pruned and irrigated wild mesquite groves to enhance yields.

Full sun and relatively dry soil is essential for good health. Plants benefit from occasional deep watering in spring and summer. This tree is ideally suited for desert gardens and provides excellent forage for wildlife. Charcoal from its wood is prized for grilling and smoking meats and other foods.

This species is considered a troublesome weed in some regions. For more information about its invasiveness visit http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PRVE

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 9

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    25'-35' / 7.6m - 10.7m

  • Width

    25'-35' / 7.6m - 10.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    Southwestern United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Blue Green

  • Bark Color

    Bronze

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Exfoliating

  • Usage

    Shade Trees, Street Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes