Prosopis pubescens

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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Prosopis pubescens, Benth. (Strombocarpa pubescens, Gray). Screw Bean. Tornillo. Shrub or small tree, merely spinescent on petioles: lfts. 5-8 pairs, oblong, 1/4-1/3in.long: spikes globose to cylindrical, 1 1/2-2 in. long: pod twisted, nearly sessile, 1-2 in. long. Texas, Calif., Mex. —The pods are used as food by Mexicans and Indians.

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Prosopis pubescens
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Mature fruit (beans or legumes) of Prosopis pubescens
Mature fruit (beans or legumes) of Prosopis pubescens
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Division: Magnoliophyta
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Class: Magnoliopsida
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Order: Fabales
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Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Mimosoideae
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Tribe: Mimoseae
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Genus: Prosopis
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Species: P. pubescens
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Binomial name
Prosopis pubescens
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Type Species

Prosopis pubescens (Screwbean Mesquite), is a small tree or shrub found in the southwestern United States (Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California) and Mexico. It has light brown bark, usually short, straight spines (1-3 cm), twice-compound leaves, and numerous, small, yellowish flowers appearing in elongate spikes. It is found along streams and valleys in deserts particularly in damp or saline soil, and grows to about 7 meters (20 ft). The tree is also called "Tornillo" or simply "Screwbean". The name arises because the tightly twisted legumes very much resemble a turned screw. This morphology may have been an evolutionary defense agains seed predators such as bruchid beetles (bean weevils).

Prosopis pubescens inflorescence 2003-06-02.jpg
Inflorescence of Prosopis pubescens
Like those of other mesquites, screwbean has nutritious pods that can be eaten. Mesquite meal is a traditional Native American food. Used as a staple food for centuries by desert dwellers, this high protein meal contains good quantities of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, and is rich in the amino acid lysine as well. Mesquite is high in fiber, moderate in sugar, and eight percent protein. It has a sweet, rich, molasses-like flavor with a hint of caramel which blends well into smoothies or other drinks, especially those made with cacao and maca.

Approximate Nutritional Value of Mesquite Pod Meal Amt/100g Protein 16 g Fat 3.4 g Calories 380 Fiber 36 g

Minerals: Barium 3.7 mg Boron 3.2 mg Calcium 520 mg Chromium 0.12 mg Cobalt 0.03 mg Copper 0.8 mg Iron 18 mg Magnesium 140 mg Manganese 2.3 mg Molybdenum 0.05 mg Phosphorus 215 mg Potassium 1712 mg Sodium 12 mg Sulfur 222 mg Zinc 3.0 mg

External links


  • National Audubon Society, Field Guide to Trees, Western Region, North America, 1980, pg. 501.Template:Tree-stub
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