The honey mesquite tree (Prosopis glandulosa) is a pod-bearing tree native to South Texas. It is named for its sweet, honey-producing flowers. They grow an average of 20-40 feet tall and have a broad crown of similar proportions with bright, green foliage. It has crooked, drooping branches with a smooth, brown trunk that roughens with age and is approximately 12 inches in diameter.
The tree produces flowers in small clusters from March to November that are a pale yellow color and are an excellent honey source, after which it produces bean or pea-like pods with spines occurring at large nodes on the branches. The pods are long and yellow-green with edible seeds that are flat and narrow and resemble coffee beans. Mesquite trees grow in barren sites unsuited to most crops, and need little to no watering after the 1st year as their roots may penetrate 50 to 60 feet down in search of water. These trees grow very fast and definitely prefer little water after they are established. In fact, if you plant your mesquite in a regularly watered lawn it will grow tall and lush with a very shallow root system — and may very likely blow over with the first strong windstorm. Infrequent, deep watering is best because it encourages the roots to go deep into the soil.
Long before the first Anglo settlers came to Texas, Native Americans used mesquite in its entirety, seeing it as an integral part of their culture. They made sewing needles from the thorns and used the inner bark to make baskets and fabric. The bean pods served as food and were used to make medicinal tea. The mesquite’s sap was used for black dye and sweet gum, and the wood was used to make arrows and bows for hunting.
Today, many people associate mesquite with barbecue, it is also used in furniture making and is still used as a food source in items such as jellies, honey, liquid smoke and flour made from grinding the whole pods. It also provides livestock fodder and cover and serves as food for deer and turkeys.
Mesquite is a host plant to Reickers bluebutterfly and the long-tailed skipper. And, it’s sweet blossoms are also a great nectar source.
Simmons Oak Farms Wholesale Nursery offers many sizes of Honey Mesquite trees for sale to the landscape industry. Contact us at (956) 425-5859 for pricing and availability.