Mesquite is a common name for several plants in the genus Prosopis, which contains over 40 species of small leguminous trees. They are native to the southwestern United States and Mexico (except the creeping mesquite, which is native to Argentina, but invasive in southern California). The mesquite originates in the Tamaulipan mezquital ecoregion, in the deserts and xeric shrublands biome, located in the southern United States and northeastern Mexico. It has extremely long roots in order to seek water from very far underground. The region covers an area of 141,500 km2 (54,600 sq mi), encompassing a portion of the Gulf Coastal Plain in southern Texas, northern Tamaulipas, northeastern Coahuila, and part of Nuevo León. As a legume, mesquite is one of the few sources of fixed nitrogen in the desert habitat.

Prosopis pubescens beans

Screwbean pods.

Prosopis pubescens inflorescence 2003-06-02

Screwbean flowers


Honey mesquite, foliage with seedpods

Prosopis velutina seeds

Velvet mesquite dried seeds

Velvet mesquite

Velvet mesquite tree


Honey mesquite foliage

This tree blooms from spring to summer. It often produces fruits known as "pods". Prosopis spp are able to grow up to 8 m tall, with regards to site and climate. It is deciduous and depending on location and rainfall can have either deep or shallow roots. Prosopis spp is considered long-lived because of the low mortality rate after the dicotyledonous stage and juveniles are also able to survive in conditions with low light and drought. The Cahuilla indigenous people of western North America were known to eat the seeds of mesquite. [1]


Prosopis spp has been in North America since the Pliocene era and its wood is dated 3300 yr BP.[2] It is thought to have evolved with megafauna in the New World. The loss of North American megafauna at the end of the Pleistocene era gave way to one theory of how the Prosopis spp was able to survive. One theory is that the loss of the megafauna allowed Prosopis spp to use its fruit pods to attract other organisms to spread its seeds; then with the introduction of livestock it was able to spread into grasslands. Another is that Prosopis spp had always been present in grasslands but recurring fires had delayed plant and seed development before the emergence of livestock and grazing.


The English word mesquite is borrowed from the Spanish word mezquite, which in turn was borrowed from the Nāhuatl term mizquitl.[3][4][5]


Mesquite grows as a small shrub in shallow soil or as tall as 50 feet (15 m) in deep soil with adequate moisture and forms a rounded canopy nearly as wide. They may have one or multiple trunks with a multitude of branches. Mesquite has bipinnate leaflets of a light green to blue hue that cast a light to deep shade, depending on the species. Spikes of flowers form in spring and summer that form a flat pod of beans 2 to 6 inches (51 to 152 mm) long. Many varieties form thorns. When cut to the ground, the tree can often recover.


Mesquite Range in the United States
Non-federal rangeland where native invasive mesquite species are present in the United States.

Once the pod is dry, the whole pod is edible and can be ground into flour and made into bread.

Mesquite is one of the most expensive types of lumber in the US. It was a popular type of wood used by early Spaniards to build ships, but is now used most commonly for high-end rustic furniture and cabinets.

Scraps and small pieces are used commonly as wood for cooking with smoke in southern states, and bring a premium on the market.

As an introduced and invasive species

Honey mesquite has been introduced to parts of Africa, Asia, and Australia and is considered by the World Conservation Union as one of the world's most problematic invasive species.[6] The spread into grasslands is mostly attributed to the introduction of domestic livestock, although other factors include climate change, overgrazing, and the reduction of fire frequency.[7] Although Prosopis spp is naturally occurring in these areas these changes have resulted in Prosopis spp being able to successfully outcompete other native plants and is now considered an invasive species due to the fact that it was able to take advantage of vulnerable ecosystems.[7]

Prosopis spp is different from most invasive species because it is highly invasive in its native range as well as introduced ranges. Its impacts on the invaded ecosystems include changes to hydrological, energy, and nutrient cycling, as well as consequences to biodiversity and primary production.[1] Prosopis spp density and canopy cover influence the herbaceous layer and native shrubs and are factors in the changes to the ecosystem.

In the United States, Prosopis spp has become the dominant woody plant on 38,000,000 hectares (94,000,000 acres) of semiarid grasslands. North America is its native range and due to an imbalance within this ecosystem has been able to spread rapidly. It is considered the most common and widely spread "pest" plant in Texas. It is estimated that about 25% of Texas’ grasslands are infested and 16 million acres are so invaded that it is suppressing the majority of grass production.[2] In Mexico and the US the two most problematic species are honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) and velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina). [7] Australia is also affected by the introduction of Prosopis spp, in particular, the P. pallida, P. glandulosa, P. velutina, and their hybrid P. juliflora. Prosopis spp is ranked nationally as one of the twenty most significant weeds. It now covers almost 1 million hectares of land. Prosopis spp was originally introduced to help with erosion because of its deep root system.[8] It also has immediate uses to humans through timber and providing a food source through its pods. Since Australia is a hot and semi-arid region, Prosopis spp has been able to become naturalized.

In India Prosopis spp had been introduced decades ago but it was not until recently that its effects had been studied. This plant species has been pushing out the Indian wild ass (Equus hemionus khur). [9] This herbivorous mammal eats the pods of Prosopis spp, which is one of the intended purposes of its introduction. Through digesting and excreting the seeds the Indian wild asses are providing the habitat needed for germination. The 5,000 square-kilometer Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary is experiencing mesquite invasion of roughly 1.95 square-kilometers a year. By overtaking the land, the dense canopy cover of Prosopis spp has made it so native vegetation cannot grow. It has also made watering holes inaccessible to the animals within this region. This lack of resources and range is forcing the endangered Indian wild ass into human landscapes and agriculture fields and locals are killing these asses in order to protect their crops.

Control strategies

Controlling Prosopis spp is a challenging task. One method that is often used is mechanical control. This can be effective with high mortality rates if stems are cut at least 20 cm underground. Another method is through the application of herbicides and this is done on an individual plant basis.[10] Basal application is effective to Prosopis spp of all sizes while foliar application is best for plants smaller than 1.5 m. Another physical option for control is through fires. Some species of mesquite are fire sensitive while others are fire tolerant. For those that are fire sensitive this method can be highly effective but those that are fire tolerant require hot and intense fires to be effective. In Australia scientists are trying biological control methods. They have introduced multiple insects but the most effective in causing high population level impact is the leaf tying moth (Evippe spp).[11] The most recommended method for managing Prosopis, both in native and introduced ranges, is by targeting large amounts of plants either through herbicide or physical removal. There is also new research being done on using satellite and aerial images to assess canopy cover and determine which ranges should be targeted.[12]


See also


  1. ^ a b Klinken, Rieks D. van; Graham, Jodi; Flack, Lloyd K. (2006-01-13). "Population Ecology of Hybrid Mesquite (Prosopis Species) in Western Australia: How Does it Differ from Native Range Invasions and What are the Implications for Impacts and Management?". Biological Invasions. 8 (4): 727–741. doi:10.1007/s10530-005-3427-7. ISSN 1387-3547.
  2. ^ a b Brown, J. R.; Archer, Steve (2013-03-13). "Woody plant invasion of grasslands: establishment of honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa var.glandulosa) on sites differing in herbaceous biomass and grazing history". Oecologia. 80 (1): 19–26. doi:10.1007/BF00789926. ISSN 0029-8549. PMID 23494340.
  3. ^ Entry for mizquitl in the A Nahuatl–English Dictionary and Concordance to the Cantares Mexicanos by John Bierhorst (p. 216).
  4. ^ Entry for mesquite in the Diccionario de la lengua española (Real Academia Española).
  5. ^ Entry for mesquite in the Online Etymology Dictionary.
  6. ^ "100 of the World's Worst Invasive Alien Species" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-11-27.
  7. ^ a b c "Mesquite ecology «  Texas Natural Resources Server". Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  8. ^ Cullen, Jim; Julien, Mic; McFadyen, Rachel (2012-03-05). Biological Control of Weeds in Australia. Csiro Publishing. ISBN 9780643104211.
  9. ^ Platt, John R. "Mesquite Invasion Threatens a Unique Species in India". Scientific American Blog Network. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Mesquite Management" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-26.
  12. ^ Mirik, Mustafa; Ansley, R. James (2012-06-29). "Utility of Satellite and Aerial Images for Quantification of Canopy Cover and Infilling Rates of the Invasive Woody Species Honey Mesquite (Prosopis Glandulosa) on Rangeland". Remote Sensing. 4 (7): 1947–1962. doi:10.3390/rs4071947.
  13. ^ "nature-mesquite". Retrieved 3 October 2018.

External links

Dallas County Community College District

The Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) is a network of seven community colleges in Dallas County, Texas (USA). It is headquartered at 1601 S. Lamar St. in Dallas. The Colleges of the DCCCD serve more than 70,000 students annually in academic, continuing education and adult education programs.

The Colleges of Dallas County Community College District offer associate degree and career/technical certificate programs in more than 100 areas of study, including one- and two-year certificates and degrees. DCCCD is one of the largest community college systems in Texas.

El Mesquite, Texas

El Mesquite is a census-designated place (CDP) in Starr County, Texas, United States. This was a new CDP for the 2010 census with a population of 38.

Jerry Hall

Jerry Faye Hall (born July 2, 1956) is an American model and actress.

John Horn High School

Dr. John D. Horn High School is a secondary school in Mesquite, Texas, United States. The school serves the southern portion of Mesquite and the Mesquite ISD portion of Seagoville.John Horn High School, which serves grades 9 through 12, is a part of the Mesquite Independent School District. The school is under the UIL AAAAAA (or 6A) division. The Jaguar is the school mascot, and the school colors are red, black and white.


KEOM (88.5 FM) is a non-commercial educational high school radio station based in Mesquite, Texas. It is operated by the Mesquite Independent School District and broadcasts to the greater Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex.

KEOM broadcasts in HD Radio.

Mesquite, California

Mesquite is an unincorporated community in Imperial County, California. It is located on the Union Pacific (formerly Southern Pacific) railroad 3 miles (4.8 km) northwest of Glamis, at an elevation of 299 feet (91 m). It lends its name to the nearby Mesquite Mine.

Mesquite, Nevada

Mesquite is a U.S. city in Clark County, Nevada, adjacent to the Arizona state line and 80 miles (130 km) northeast of Las Vegas on Interstate 15. As of July 1, 2017, the United States Census estimates that the city had a population of 18,541. The city is located in the Virgin River valley adjacent to the Virgin Mountains in the northeastern part of the Mojave Desert. It is home to a growing retirement community, as well as several casino resorts and golf courses.

Mesquite, Starr County, Texas

Mesquite is a census-designated place (CDP) in Starr County, Texas, United States. It is a new CDP formed from part of the former Escobares CDP prior to the 2010 census with a population of 505.

Mesquite, Texas

Mesquite is a suburban city located east of the city of Dallas, Texas, in the United States. Most of the city is located in Dallas County, though a small portion extends into Kaufman County. As of 2017 census estimates the population was 143,949, making it the twenty-first most populous city in the U.S. state of Texas. Mesquite is positioned at the crossroads of four major highways (Interstates 30, 635, 20, and U.S. Route 80), making locations such as downtown Dallas, Lake Ray Hubbard, Dallas Love Field, and DFW International Airport accessible.

According to legislative action, the city is the "Rodeo Capital of Texas". In 2016, Mesquite received a Playful City USA designation for the fourth year in a row. The city has been named a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation for over 25 years. The city of Mesquite holds the 10th longest reign in all of Texas.Unique to suburbs of Dallas and Fort Worth, the city of Mesquite is served by its own local airport, Mesquite Metro Airport. Companies and institutions with a major presence in the city are the United Parcel Service, Sears, AT&T, Spectrum, Eastfield College, the Texas A&M University–Commerce Mesquite Metroplex Center, Ashley Furniture, and FedEx.

Mesquite Creek, Arizona

Mesquite Creek is a census-designated place (CDP) in Mohave County, Arizona, United States. The population was 205 at the 2000 census.

Mesquite Desert Dogs

The Mesquite Desert Dogs are an American professional basketball team based in Mesquite, Nevada.

Mesquite High School (Texas)

Mesquite High School (MHS) is a public high school in Mesquite, Texas, United States. It is part of the Mesquite Independent School District. It participates in the University Interscholastic League 6A division.

Mesquite Independent School District

The Mesquite Independent School District is a school district in Mesquite, Texas (USA) (incorporating most of Mesquite and portions of Balch Springs, Dallas, Garland, and Seagoville, as well as formerly serving all high school students of Sunnyvale) which follows the standard definition of an independent school district.

The district is rather large, containing in excess of 35,000 students. There are five main high schools, Three of which are AAAAAA (or 6A, the highest in a system of Texas school size classification). As of July 1, 2015, the superintendent is Dr. David Vroonland.

All houses and residential areas in Mesquite ISD are each assigned to an elementary school (Pre-K-5 or K-5), a middle school (6-8 or 7-8), and a high school (9-12).

In addition, the MISD operates two high school football facilities for its high schools, Memorial Stadium near West Mesquite High School (which is the largest high-school football stadiums in Texas, seating nearly 20,000 ) and E. H. Hanby Stadium, which is located adjacent to Mesquite High School.

In 2009, the school district was rated "Recognized" by the Texas Education Agency.

Mesquite Solar project

The Mesquite Solar project is a 400-megawatt (MWAC) photovoltaic power plant in Arlington, Maricopa County, Arizona, owned by Sempra Generation. The project was constructed in 3 phases using more than 2.1 million crystalline silicon solar panels made by Suntech Power.

Future expansion phases may increase the capacity to 700 MWAC over 16.2 square kilometers (4,000 acres) making it among the world's largest PV power stations.

Mesquite mouse

The mesquite mouse (Peromyscus merriami) is a species of rodent in the family Cricetidae found in Mexico and in Arizona in the United States.

North Mesquite High School

North Mesquite High School is a secondary school in Mesquite, Texas. As of 2017, the school serves northern portions of Mesquite and the MISD portion of Garland. Formerly, North Mesquite served all of Sunnyvale before the completion of Sunnyvale High School, leaving the class of 2010 the last North Mesquite class catering to Sunnyvale students.

North Mesquite, which serves grades 9 through 12, is a part of the Mesquite Independent School District. The total enrollment in 2002 was 2450; the school is therefore under the UIL AAAAAA (or 6A) division. According to the MISD Report Card, the per student expenditure for the same 2002 period was 2700 USD. The stallion is the school mascot and the school colors are blue and white. The school's motto is Animus Omnia Vincit, which translates from the Latin as "Courage Conquers All."

Poteet High School (Mesquite, Texas)

Dr. Ralph H. Poteet High School is located at 3300 Poteet Drive in Mesquite, in the U.S. state of Texas. It opened in 1986 and is named for a former school superintendent, Dr. Ralph H. Poteet. It is the fourth high school built by the Mesquite Independent School District.

Poteet serves grades 9 through 12. Poteet serves northern portions of Mesquite; the school formerly served parts of Sunnyvale. The school mascot is Patch the Pirate.

One of the things Poteet High School is known for is its band program. The Poteet Pirate Band has consistently made state finals since 1993, won the AAAA UIL State Marching Band title in 1997, 2005, and 2007, and has mostly recently placed 5th at AAAAA UIL State Marching in 2017. The Poteet Honors Band received the title of 2008 TMEA Class 4A Honor Band, the highest honor a concert band can receive in the state of Texas. The band has also received the UIL Sweepstakes Award for 22 consecutive years (every year since the school opened). The Poteet Percussion Ensemble was selected as a showcase performance in Austin at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in November 2008. Also, in 2009, the band received the Sudler Flag of Honor, an award from the John Philip Sousa Foundation. The band also participated in its 1st BOA competition with BOA DFW in 2018.

Poteet was named a 1999-2000 National Blue Ribbon School.

Town East Mall

Town East Mall is an enclosed shopping mall in Mesquite, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Its anchor stores are Macy's (Opened as Sanger-Harris in 1971, became Foleys in 1987, became Macy’s in 2006), Dillard's, JCPenney, Sears, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

West Mesquite High School

West Mesquite High School is a secondary school in Mesquite, Texas, United States. The school, which serves grades 9 through 12, is a part of the Mesquite Independent School District.

The school serves the western portion of Mesquite and most of the MISD portion of Balch Springs. The school mascot is the Wrangler. The school is located near the Mesquite Championship Rodeo at the Mesquite Arena, and was actually built on land once owned by the Rodeo. There was once a pond that horses drank from. If it were there today, it would cover the water fountain, and much of the north end of the football stadium.

Memorial Stadium, is on campus along with the Mesquite Tower which broadcasts the school district's own radio station, KEOM.

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