Chilean mesquite trees (Prosopis chilensis and hybrids) dominate urban landscapes in the American Southwest. The mesquite tree is one of the most common trees of the southwestern United States and parts of Mexico. The screwbean mesquite is so named because it has screw-like pods. Herbicides, usually applied by aircraft, have also been used for decades in attempts to control the mesquites. Chilean Mesquite Trees. "The gel-forming fiber allows foods to be slowly digested and absorbed over a four- to six-hour period, rather than in one or two hours, which produces a rapid rise in blood sugar," Mesquite meal is sold in DesertUSA's online store.). It has a 2-inch fruit that develops from its flowers that resembles the spiraling shape of a screw. The mesquites’ encroachment into pasturelands and displacement of grasses has frustrated cattlemen, who unwittingly fostered the advance in the first place by overgrazing. Mesquite is a common name for several plants in the genus Prosopis, which contains over 40 species of small leguminous trees. The new herbivores not only ate and dispersed the pods, the great livestock herds stripped away the desert grasses, eliminating competition and wildfire fuel. One is the honey mesquite, another is the screwbean mesquite, and finally there is the velvet mesquite. The screwbean also can get as large as 20 feet. Moreover, “These multiple applications could create adverse side effects to rangeland species diversity and biomass… With the attendant costs of herbicides and aerial application over large areas, a viable long-term management strategy using only herbicides may be impractical.”, Physical removal – by methods such as dozing, root plowing, chaining, roller chopping or shredding – has reduced mesquite density in pasturelands for brief periods, but the plants soon re-sprout from their bases, more dense than ever. The honey mesquite can grow to 20 feet in height with a trunk that is a foot in diameter. Mesquites grew up along the historic cattle trails, defining the routes to this day. In lateral reach, they outcompete other plants in the battle for soil moisture. Here is the lowdown on the mesquite tree. In fact, mesquites have become established in borrow ditches along modern desert roadways traveled by cattle trucks. “I ask for no better monument over my grave than a good mesquite tree.”, Mesquite meal Perfectly adapted for its dry environment, the mesquite is a hardy tree. Where distributions of the species overlap, the plants hybridize, often making identification difficult. Some mesquites may live for more than two centuries according to Thomas B. Wilson, Robert H. Webb and Thomas L. Thompson, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-8. They may have single or multiple-branched stems, with each plant assuming its own distinctive shape – and come armed with thorns on their smaller branches. Mesquite is the most common shrub/small tree of the desert southwest. The benefits of the mesquite tree far outweigh any perceived shortcomings. The seeds became scarified by mastication, preparing them for germination. Mesquite leaves, crushed and mixed with water and urine, cured headaches. In their taproots’ downward reach, they find subsurface water, sometimes 150 to perhaps 200 feet below the surface. They throw the meal into a basket-like jar and pour water on it until it is covered, “Then all squat round, and each takes out as much as he can with one hand. The screwbean mesquite, identified by its tightly spiraled bean pods, has established as its basic range the northern Sonoran Desert up into the Mojave Desert. As hosts to nitrogen-fixing bacteria, they help enrich otherwise impoverished desert soils in which the plants and their progeny grow. The narrow leaves are pointed and are 2 to 3 inches long. Mesquite trees, at least the honey mesquites that are prevalent in the Lone Star State, are really "trees" in name only. Their flowers, fragrant and delicate, attract the insects, especially the bees, necessary for prolific pollination. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, the trees woo homeowners with fast growth and graceful form. The sweetness comes from fructose, which the body can process without insulin. (“They will not decay in the flesh or gristle as will prickly pear thorns,” Dobie said, “but will last longer than any flesh in which they become imbedded.”) Their leaves, small and wax coated, minimize transpiration (evaporation of the plant’s water into the atmosphere). There are three types of mesquite tree that grow in this region. 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