Prosopis pallida

Name and classification

Prosopis pallida (Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) Kunth
Family Fabaceae, Subfamily Mimosoideae

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

Common names

kiawe

Description

Pods linear, straight to subfalcate, subcompressed, (6)10–25 cm long, 10–15 mm wide, 5–9 mm thick; margins nearly straight, thick and almost ridge-like, making cross section nearly subquadrate-rectangular. Stipitate, apex acuminate or caudate, with beak ca. 8 mm long. Smooth, straw-yellow when ripe, with fine, V-shaped striate veins; seed chambers 20–30. Endocarp segments broader than long, rectangular, boney, closed, 5–6.5 mm long, 9–11 mm wide, 4.5–5 mm thick; mesocarp fleshy, sticky, sweet, edible. Seeds oriented longitudinally.

Seeds narrowly to broadly obovate and often asymmetric in outline, 4.25–7 mm long, 2.8–4.9 mm wide, 1.7–3 mm thick, umbo distinct or indistinct, elliptic in cross section. Pleurogram nearly closed. Lens a recessed mound.

Identification considerations

Pods, endocarp segments and seeds are similar to those of Prosopis juliflora (Sw.) DC. [No image available.] (non-FNW)

Distribution

native to Peru, Colombia, Ecuador

introduced to Brazil, India, Australia, Puerto Rico, Hawaii

Habitat

dry areas, semiarid coastal lands; tolerant of saline soils

General information

Prosopis pallida is a spiny or unarmed tree or shrub, 8–20 m tall, valued for its various uses. Its very dense wood is used for fuel (directly and to make high quality charcoal), and for timber. The sweet pods are used as forage. Production of flour made from pods and seeds is a small but growing industry in Peru. In Hawaii, where it was introduced in 1828, it is considered an invading weed that forms problem thickets. Seeds are released by natural decomposition of the pods or endozoically (animal-dispersed).

seeds

seeds

lens and hilum of seed

lens and hilum of seed

pods

pods

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