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Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana
About Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana) Nurseries Show All Photos Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana) is a common subspecies of the small to medium-sized flowering tree in the legume family, Fabaceae. It is native to the southwestern United States and Mexico, but has been introduced to at least a half-dozen other countries. In California's Central Valley and deserts it is an important habitat plant for many species of wildlife. Honey Mesquite has a rounded crown and crooked, drooping branches with feathery foliage and straight, paired spines on twigs. In some settings it will remain a low growing shrub forming dense thickets that are used as refuge by rabbits, quail, and other animals. In other settings it grows as a tree that reaches 20-30 feet, rarely as tall as 50 feet. It is highly adapted to arid environments with a very deep taproot (up to 100 ft.) to reach underground water. The fruit is a nutritious "bean pod" that is valued by many animals and was eaten by native people of the desert. It has spines and caution should be used when deciding where to plant it. It is an essential plant for the desert wildlife garden.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
20 - 30 ft (6.1 - 9.1 m)

Max. Width
20 ft (6.1 m)

Winter Deciduous

Flower Color

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Flats and washes in arid regions with underground water


Elevation ?
-271' - 6819'

Annual Precip. ?
1.9" - 26.0"

Summer Precip. ?
0.13" - 2.84"

Coldest Month ?
33.8° F - 63.4° F

Hottest Month ?
62.6° F - 90.8° F

Humidity ?
0.87 vpd - 49.48 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers sandy or decomposed granite soil

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.2


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 10° F

Sunset Zones ?
7, 8, 9*, 10, 11, 12*, 13, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17, 18, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Wildlife Attracted
Mesquite attracts a wide variety of animals including insects, rabbits, rodents, quail, roadrunners, thrashers, coyotes, and many others. The Prosopis genus is host plant to the Marine Blue and Leda Ministreak butterflies. This species is host to the Palmer's Metalmark and Reakirt's Blue butterflies.

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist


Best not to prune if a wildlife thicket is desired. To achieve a tree form, prune in winter to select a main trunk. Use caution in pruning due to sharp spines.

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Hot water or scarification. Fresh undried seeds No treatment. ( USDA Forest Service 1974).

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Western Honey Mesquite

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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