Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Prosopis juliflora var. torreyana, Western Honey Mesquite

Scientific Name: Prosopis juliflora var. torreyana
Common Name: Western Honey Mesquite

Also Called: Common Mesquite, Honey Mesquite (Spanish: Mezquite, Algarroba, Chachaca)

Family: Fabaceae or Leguminosae Family

Synonyms: (Prosopis glandulosa subsp. torreyana, Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana, Prosopis odorata)

Status: Native

Duration: Perennial

Size: Up to 30 feet or more.

Growth Form: Tree or shrub; spiny branches arched and drooping, stems somewhat zigzag, crown spread often wider than height, trunk diameter up to 2.5 feet.

Leaves: Green; pinnately compound, generally glabrous.

Flower Color: Yellow, light yellow; inflorescence in catkin-like spikes, fruit a legume, pods narrowed slightly between seeds, generally glabrous.

Flowering Season: March to August.

Elevation: Up to 5,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Drainage ways in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts.

Recorded Range: In the United States, Western Honey Mesquite is found in the southwest in the states of; AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX and UT. It is also native to Baja California and central and northern Mexico.

North America species range map for :

Click image for full size map.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Prosopis juliflora var. torreyana as Prosopis juliflora.

U.S. Weed Information: Unknown

Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: All members of the genus Prosopis are listed as a Noxious Weed by the state of Florida.

Wetland Indicator: Unknown

Threatened/Endangered Information: Arizona Western Honey Mesquite is "Salvage Assessed", "Harvest Restricted". A permit is needed from the Department of Agriculture to transport this species off of private land.

Genus Information: 35 species in Prosopis in the southwestern United States. 3 native species in Arizona.

The Plant List includes 111 scientific plant names of species rank for the genus Prosopis. Of these 46 are accepted species names.

Comments: Western Honey Mesquite is more often found in washes and other drainage ways where water is or has been during the year. Vegetative communities include the Blue Palo Verde, Quail Bush, Desert Willow, Fremont Cottonwood, Saltcedar and Goodding Willow.

All species of Mesquite make excellent firewood and their branches have been used as wood used for fence-posts. The flowers provide an important source of nectar for desert honey-bees, wildlife and livestock eagerly eat the leaves and pods. Pollen from all species are reported to be responsible for hay-fever.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see: Honey Mesquite, Prosopis glandulosa; Screw Bean Mesquite, Prosopis pubescens and Velvet Mesquite, Prosopis velutina.

Date Profile Completed: 09/06/2015, updated 12/02/2021
References and additional information:
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search, Prosopis glandulosa Torr. var. torreyana
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California, as Prosopis juliflora.
USDA Forest Service Fire Effects Information System (MEOF);; as Prosopis glandulosa (accessed 09/06/2015)
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed09/06/2015).
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information, as Prosopis juliflora var. torreyana.