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Screwbean Mesquite
Prosopis pubescens
  
About Screwbean Mesquite (Prosopis pubescens) 6 Nurseries Carry This Plant Prosopis pubescens, commonly known as Screwbean Mesquite or Tornillo, is a species of flowering shrub or small tree in the pea family, Fabaceae, that is native to the southwestern United States (Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California, southern Nevada and Utah) and northern Mexico (Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Sonora). In California it is found primarily in desert areas from Inyo County southward. It has light brown bark, usually short, straight spines (1-3 centimeter/0.39-1.2 inches), twice-compound leaves, and numerous, small, yellowish flowers appearing in elongate spikes. It is found along streams and valleys in deserts, particularly in damp or saline soil, and grows to about 7 meter (23 feet). It is distinguished from the very similar Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) by its tightly twisted seedpods (legumes) which very much resemble turned screws. This morphology may have been an evolutionary defense against seed predators such as bean weevils (Bruchinae). Like Honey Mesquite, these seed pods are valued by wildlife and were eaten by native people.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Plant Type
Tree

Size
Size
10 - 33 ft tall
20 ft wide

Form
Form
Upright

Growth Rate
Growth Rate
Fast

Dormancy
Dormancy
Winter Deciduous

Flower Color
Flower Color
Yellow

Flowering Season
Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Wildlife Supported
 
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, and this species is host to the Palmer's Metalmark butterfly.

Landscaping Information
Sun
Sun
Full Sun

Moisture
Moisture
Low

Summer Irrigation
Summer Irrigation
Max 1x / month once established

Nurseries
Nurseries

Ease of Care
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Cold Tolerance
Cold Tolerance
Tolerates cold to 15° F

Soil Drainage
Soil Drainage
Fast

Soil Description
Soil Description
Typically sandy or decomposed granite. Soil PH: 6.0 - 8.0

Common uses
Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Deer Resistant, Butterfly Gardens

Propagation
Propagation?
For propagating by seed: No treatment. Seedlings damp-off very readily. Some lots may need hot water or scarification.

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

Natural Setting
Site Type
Site Type
Creek, river bottoms, sandy or gravelly of the desert

Climate
Climate
Annual Precipitation: 2.2" - 25.8", Summer Precipitation: 0.22" - 2.51", Coldest Month: 35.6" - 61.6", Hottest Month: 61.7" - 90.6", Humidity: 1.37" - 48.86", Elevation: -190" - 7356"

Alternative Names
Common Names: Screw Bean, Screw-bean Mesquite, Tornillo


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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