Q:

What are some mesquite tree facts?

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Quick Answer

Three varieties of the mesquite tree include the honey, velvet and screwbean mesquite. These trees were essential for frontier life, providing food and wood when supplies were short. Indians and settlers used different parts of the tree as home remedies for many common ailments. Many ranchers now consider the mesquite to be an invasive plant and seek to eradicate it through controlled burns and other forms of removal.

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Full Answer

Mesquite trees belong to the legume family. They are common in southwestern parts of the United States, thriving in the dry conditions found there. The trees are able to obtain moisture from the driest soil due to their deep tap roots, which can reach 150 to 200 feet below the surface. In addition to the tap roots, the tree has shallow roots that can absorb water closer to the surface.

The mesquite generally remains small, though in the right conditions it can achieve heights up to 30 feet. The tiny yellow blossoms of the plant attract pollinators and other wildlife to the tree. New growth is protected by needle-sharp thorns that are up to 3 inches long. Becoming more popular as a landscape plant, the mesquite requires little watering and low maintenance.

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