screwbean mesquite Fabaceae Prosopis
pubescens Benth. symbol: PRPU
Leaf: Alternate, bipinnately compound, 1 to 2 inches long, usually with only two major leaflets (may occasionally have 2 to 3 pairs), each leaflet with 6 to 9 pairs of narrow minor leaflets (1/2 to 1 inch long) with entire margins and a fuzzy surface, green to gray-green above, paler below.
Flower: Small pale yellow to yellow-green in 2 to 3 inch long slender spikes in groups of 2 to 6, appearing late spring to early summer.
Fruit: A very unique, tightly coiled legume, 1 to 2 inches long, light brown, ripening in mid to late summer.
Twig: Light reddish brown, slightly zigzag with obvious paired slender spines (up to 1 inch long) at the base of each leaf, spine is nearly white, knobby spur branches may also be present.
Bark: Very distinct, rough shreddy to scaly, outer older bark gray-brown, newer bark reddish brown.
Form: A thicket forming small tree to large shrub (up to 20 feet), typically with several crooked and arching stems forming a broad round crown.
Looks like: honey mesquite - velvet mesquite - catclaw acacia
Additional Range Information: Prosopis pubescens is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting screwbean mesquite.
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database - USDAFS Forest Products Lab
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson