Prosopis kuntzei

Name and classification

Prosopis kuntzei Harms
Family Fabaceae, Subfamily Mimosoideae

NOTE: Very few seeds (less than five) of Prosopis kuntzei 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 thick, linear-oblong, straight or subfalcate; 10–17 cm long, 1.5–2.6 cm wide, 6–15 mm thick. Short-stipitate, apex mucronate, margins straight to slightly undulate. Rough and wrinkled or semismooth, sometimes bumpy over endocarp segments, nearly black when ripe, seed chambers sometimes visible. Endocarp segments subquadrate or transversely rectangular, bony, closed 12 mm long, 12 mm wide, 6 mm thick; mesocarp mealy-spongy, dry. Seeds oriented longitudinally.

Seeds obovate in outline, 7–10 mm long, 4.8–6.7 mm wide, 1.5–2.9 mm thick, with an umbo, sometimes with raised pleurogram-shaped ridge surrounding pleurogram, elliptic to narrowly elliptic in cross section. Lens same color as testa, a mound.

Identification considerations

Pod is distinctive; usually thick, large, heavy and nearly black at maturity. Seeds are relatively large.

Similar species

Prosopis sericantha Gillies ex Hook. & Arn. (Pod is similar.)

Distribution

Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay

Habitat

mixed subxerophytic woods

General information

Prosopis kuntzei is a spiny, almost leafless tree, 4–10(15) m tall. The heartwood is bluish-black, resists decay and is hard and flexible. Lumbered for various uses such as fence posts, and has been used by the Chaco Indians for bows and spears. The pods usually remain in one piece, but may break into one- to several-seeded segments.

seeds

seeds

lens and hilum of seed

lens and hilum of seed

pod and pod fragments

pod and pod fragments

pod

pod

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

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