see it


Prosopis velutina     
Velvet mesquite    
Fabaceae Family     

Compiled by the Master Gardeners
of the University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension.


Form: low-branched, broad spreading tree, sometimes a large shrub
Seasonality: deciduous
Size: to 30ft with equal spread
Leaves: bipinnately compound in pairs (two sets of compound leaves on stem), leaflets 1/3 to 1/2in long; 14-30 pairs of leaflets per leaf; dark green to dusty green, slightly fuzzy texture, short gray hairs
small leaflets
newly-emerged leaf of
Prosopis velutina
Flowers: white or pale yellow catkin, 2-3in long, hangs downward; bloom in early summer
Fruit: slender brown pod, 3-9in long 1/2-1/4in wide; edible
Stems/Trunks: twigs are jointy, branches gnarled and twisted
Range/Origin: southwest US and Mexico; characteristics highly variable by region
Hardiness: well below 32°F




Velvet mesquite tree
Prosopis velutina
aka Native mesquite, Arizona mesquite

the pod pulp (surrounding seed) is edible
slow growth rate and naturally shrubby, needs training when young to obtain tree form

Easily confused with non-native mesquites
    non-natives lack jointy appearance to twigs and branches,
    non-natives are also more upright or erect

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This page was first created August 2, 2002 and last modified May 16, 2004.

Web page design and photographs by Toni Moore, Master Gardener
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