honey mesquite

Prosopis glandulosa var. glandulosa
Tree
Opposite
Compound
Cream
Green

Species vary in growth characteristics. Mesquite can occur as a multi-stemmed shrub with branches drooping to the ground, around 3–5 m high, or as a single-stemmed tree with a spreading canopy growing to 15 m.

Common names 
Also known as: honey mesquite, mesquite, prosopis, Texas Mesquite,
Family 
Mimosaceae
Deciduous 
No
Flowering time 
Spring- Autumn
Native/Exotic 
Exotic
Origin 
Native to southern USA and Mexico.
Notifiable 
No
State declaration 
Class 2
Council declaration 
SIL – Special Investigation List
Known distribution 

This species is widely naturalised in Australia, but has a scattered distribution. It is present in many parts of Queensland and well as in northern Western Australia and south-western New South Wales. Also naturalised overseas in southern Africa, western Asia (i.e. Saudi Arabia), the Indian Sub-continent (i.e. India and Pakistan), south-eastern Asia (i.e. Burma) and tropical Southern America.

Habitat 

Mesquite has spread along waterways and floodplains, along roadsides, and in horse-paddocks near homesteads

Habit 

Species vary in growth characteristics. Mesquite can occur as a multi-stemmed shrub with branches drooping to the ground, around 3–5 m high, or as a single-stemmed tree with a spreading canopy growing to 15 m.

Impact and control methods 

Mesquite was originally favoured as a shade tree around homesteads and as fodder for stock. However, sparse stands will often form into impenetrable The sharp thorns can injure animals and puncture vehicle tyres. Seeds can lay dormant for years, and mesquite seedlings can therefore reappear in areas that have been cleared thickets. Many infestations are along waterways, both natural and constructed. However, plants will do just as well away from water. Even in rangelands it is an aggressive competitor and can quickly invade upland country. Mesquite thickets can out-compete other vegetation, interfere with mustering and block access to watering places.

Stem and leaves 

Each leaf has 1−4 pairs of leaf branches (pinnae), with each ‘branch’ having 6−18 pairs of individual leaflets. Leaflets vary from oval-shaped to long and narrow depending on the species. Foliage is usually dark green but can vary to bluish green. Paired thorns usually occur just above each leaf axil.

Flowers and fruits 

Small greenish-cream ‘lamb’s tail’ shaped flowers grow near the ends of branches in wattle-like spikes, 5–12 cm long. Seed pods are 10−20 cm long, straight to slightly curved, smooth, with slight constrictions between the seeds. When ripe the pods are straw-coloured, or purplish in some species. Each pod contains between 5−20 hard seeds.