Encyclopedia Article


Mesquite is a spiny, desert legume which grows in two forms: a low-to-the-ground prickly shrub and a tree that grows up to fifty feet tall. Mesquite grows in thickets throughout the Southwest, and due to the dryness of this environment, the roots grow deep in order to reach water. Mesquite wood can be used for furniture and for sweet-smelling firewood. The beans that grow from the plant are sweet and, when roasted and ground into a flour, have comprised a significant food source for many indigenous desert dwelling populations in the region.

Photo Credit: 

"Mesquite in dry wash, September 24, 2009" by David Quigley is licensed under CC BY.