Prosopis palmeri

Name and classification

Prosopis palmeri S. Watson
Family Fabaceae, Subfamily Mimosoideae

NOTE: Only thirteen seeds of Prosopis palmeri 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-oblong, subterete to compressed, subfalcate or straight, 4–9 cm long, 8–10 mm wide, 2–6 mm thick. Apex acute to mucronate, margins nonundulate. Reddish-brown, with delicate V-shaped oblique striate veins; seed chambers not visible. Exocarp and mesocarp both thin and brittle, endocarp membranous, rectangular-segmented in 1 row, but disintegrating and opening easily at maturity. Seeds oriented obliquely to transversely at maturity.

Seeds broadly obovate to suborbicular in outline, often twisted, 5–7 mm long, 4–5.5 mm wide, 1–3 mm thick, umbo absent, mostly elliptic in cross section. Pleurogram wide and rounded. Lens a light-colored mound.

Identification considerations

Pods distinctive in the genus because of their shape, length, color, and striations.

Distribution

Mexico

Habitat

mainly on dry riverbeds

General information

Prosopis palmeri is a spiny shrub or tree 1.2–6(7.5) m tall. It is browsed by cattle and much used for fuel. The pods easily break down at maturity, enabling seeds to be released.

seeds

seeds

lens and hilum of seed

lens and hilum of seed

pods

pods

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