The Plant List


Chilean mesquite
Prosopis chilensis

Common: Chilean mesquite, Algarrobo mesquite
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Sunset Zone: All zones
Origin: Native to North and South America
Light: Full to reflected sun
Soil: Widely tolerant
Water: Widely tolerant once established, from little to none or ample. Best with deep periodic irrigation.

Outstanding choices for warm deserts and hot interior climates. Blends well with a garden or natural landscape equally well. P. chilensis is the species most frequently used in landscaping.

True Chilean mesquite resembles the species often offered as P. chilensis but is more upright and vigorous in appearance. Open and ferny, twisted trunk, open crown. Rapid growing and needs 24 to 40 feet for proper development. Reaches height of 20-30 ft.

Numerous dark green, finely cut leaflets. Ferny, evergreen. Young trees sometimes have enormous white woody thorns. Will lose leaves with sharp cold. Cream to yellow colored catkin flowers in spring followed by edible beans.

Young plants in open areas are nibbled by rabbits and their bark may be stripped unless protected. Texas root rot is a problem in Texas, but is rarely seen in more western deserts. Native Americans make a delicious flour from the dried seed pods, use the wood for cooking, and create disinfectant from Mesquite plant parts. Seed pods are also a protein-rich livestock feed.

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