Prosopis caldenia

Name and classification

Prosopis caldenia Burkart
Family Fabaceae, Subfamily Mimosoideae

NOTE: Only five seeds of Prosopis caldenia were available for examination. Therefore, the description and images in this fact sheet may not be representative of this species’ seeds.

Common names

mesquite

Description

Pods linear, with 1 or more twists, curving into C- or S-shapes or 1–3 loose coils, 10–24 cm long, 5–13 mm wide, 4–7 mm thick. Stipitate, apex caudate with beak 5–25 mm long, margins irregularly undulate. Smooth, straw-yellow, may be violet-tinged, veins striate or intersecting light-colored longitudinal lines; seed chambers 17–35. Endocarp segments subquadrate or broader than long, boney, closed, 5–7 mm long, 8–10 mm wide, 2–3 mm thick; mesocarp +/– pulpy. Seeds oriented longitudinally.

Seeds +/– obovate in outline or broadly oblong or subrhombic, 4.2–7.5 mm long, 2.5–4.5 mm wide, 2–4.5 mm thick, with or without umbo, elliptic in cross section. Pleurogram average in size. Lens a light-colored mound.

Distribution

Argentina

Habitat

forms open, monospecific, semi-xerophytic woods in the western Pampas; tolerates sandy soil

General information

Prosopis caldenia is a deciduous tree, 4–12 m tall. The only large tree in its range, it forms forests associated with grassland and scrub. Its timber has been used as fuel for steam locomotives and cooking, and for furniture. Prosopis caldenia is potentially useful as an arid-land reforestation species. Cattle and wildlife eat the pods, a way by which seeds may be dispersed. If P. caldenia trees are cleared for agriculture and the land later abandoned, impenetrable thickets form after abundant germination.

seeds

seeds

seeds

seeds

lens and hilum of seed

lens and hilum of seed

pod

pod

pod

pod

pod, detail

pod, detail

A, pod; B, one-seeded endocarp segment; C, seed; D, longitudinal section of seed showing embryo; E, transection of seed; drawing by Lynda E. Chandler

A, pod; B, one-seeded endocarp segment; C, seed; D, longitudinal section of seed showing embryo; E, transection of seed; drawing by Lynda E. Chandler