Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Honey Mesquite
Prosopis juliflora

Family: Mimosaceae
Genus: Prosopis (PROS-oh-pis) (Info)
Species: juliflora (joo-lih-FLOR-uh) (Info)

10 members have or want this plant for trade.


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Chamma
Thumbnail #1 of Prosopis juliflora by Chamma

By htop
Thumbnail #2 of Prosopis juliflora by htop

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #3 of Prosopis juliflora by Jeff_Beck

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #4 of Prosopis juliflora by Jeff_Beck

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #5 of Prosopis juliflora by Jeff_Beck

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #6 of Prosopis juliflora by Jeff_Beck

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #7 of Prosopis juliflora by Jeff_Beck

There are a total of 11 photos.
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2 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral fishingdude On Mar 9, 2012, fishingdude from San Angelo, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

This tree is very invasive in West Texas. It doesn't get that tall and I hear they drink a lot of water. An ugly tree, especially in the winter months. Very hard to kill. You can cut it to the ground and it will grow back vigorously with multitrunks. They can be pruned to look more tree like, but unpruned mesquite trees are very bushy. They are prone to getting dead branches. I have a lot of these trees on my property, and it's not uncommon to step on a mesquite thorn and it go through the shoe into the foot.

Neutral Blackfeather On Feb 23, 2011, Blackfeather from Palm Desert, CA wrote:

Someone erroneously stated Honey Mesquite as the most abundant plant in the desert of the southwest.
I am a naturalist guide in the Colorado desert, For the Records; That distinction goes to Larrea Tridentata, more commonly known as Creosote Bush.

Positive htop On Oct 23, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

The most common shrub or small tree of the Desert Southwest, mesquite restores nitrogen to the soil. The bean pods can lie dormant for forty years and can be viable. The bean pods have been used by wildlife (especially deer), livestock and humans as a source of food. Believe it or not in late summer, it is estimated that over 75% of a coyote's diet is comprised of mesquite beans.

Native Americans counted upon the mesquite pod as a main source of food making ground meal called pinole, tea and syrup. The bark was employed in the production of medicines, fabrics and basketry. The yellowish-gold mesquite flowers produce a fragrant honey which is a favorite of bees and other insects.

Mesquite comes in a close second next to ironwood as the best firewood of the desert because it burns slowly and smokelessly. Often dug up for firewood, the taproots can be larger than the trunk and help sustain the tree during drought. Tool handles, plaque wood, fenceposts and aromatic charcoal for barbecuing are made from mesquite (has become a multi-million dollar business). Despite its sweetness, mesquite flour which is produced by grinding whole pods, has been found in medicinal research to be extremely effective in controlling blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

When the leaves fall from the mesquite, I know the first frost is not far behind. When the beautiful yellowih-green leaves sprout in spring, I know that the last frost has usually occurred and I start planting my frost sensitive plants. As a child, I would collect the bean pods, put them in a large pot, add water and stir them until the sweet aroma filled the air pretending I was cooking them. Little did I know then that I could have really eaten them. Now, I am glad my neighbors have the mesquite trees because I can admire them, but not have to pick up all of the bean pods off my sidewalk, grass and street area.

Positive Bairie On Aug 2, 2003, Bairie from Corpus Christi, TX (Zone 10a) wrote:

It's a wonderful tree, not a native, but it's been such a part of my life, it wouldn't be south Texas without it. It does make a mess in a yard, and you better not go barefoot under it. It is drought-resistant. In spring when the new leaves come out, it looks like a mound of lime green feathers!

Neutral KactusKathi On Aug 1, 2003, KactusKathi from Goodyear, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:

Indians in the Southwest ground the seed pods into flour for baking. Has a sweet taste. Wonderfully drought tolerant tree.

Neutral Chamma On Jun 7, 2003, Chamma from Tennille, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Salt-tolerant tree native to the southwest U.S. This is a wide spreading, drooping ree with an umbrella-shape to it. It needs pruning to train as a standard shade tree. It is a fast grower. The stems are thorny. The wood is renowned as a charcoal for flavoring bar-b-que meats!


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Goodyear, Arizona
Barstow, California
Fallbrook, California
Triel-sur-seine, Idaho
Arlington, Texas
Brownsville, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Lampasas, Texas
Mcallen, Texas (2 reports)
Midland, Texas
Mission, Texas
San Angelo, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)

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