Mesquite trees are a common sight in desert areas. These trees help restore nitrogen to the soil and produce bean pods that are used for food sources for animals and livestock.
There are three different types of mesquite trees: honey mesquite, screwbean mesquite and velvet mesquite. The trees each bloom sometime between April and August, producing fragrant flowers.
Mesquite trees grow at a slow to moderate rate depending on the moisture they receive. They can withstand dryer conditions better than many other trees.
Importance to Native Americans
Native Americans would grind the pods and seeds produced by mesquite trees to make flour. They used the flour to make cakes to help get them through the fall and winter months.
Mesquite trees are common in dry areas in the southwestern states and in deserts such as the Sonoran, Mojave and Chihuahuan. They often grow along desert streams, in thickets below 5,500 feet and on hillsides.
The wood from a mesquite tree is a good firewood choice because it burns slowly. It is also used for smoking meats. The fruit of the mesquite tree is consumed by several different animals, including coyotes.