The second most common bush on my land is Mesquite. It can grow as a bush two to three feet high, or in some areas, as a tree thirty feet high. In my areas it is a bush, and a few of them can be over six feet tall.
It is a plant of contrasts, it s thornes can be up to three inches long, and they were used by natives as needles. It flowers even before leafing out, and itís leaves look like little ferns. Itís seed pods, can have between five to twenty seeds, are referred to as beans because they look much like green beans only larger. The natives used them for food, crushing to make flour. They could also be used to make a therapeutic tea. The seeds can lay dormant for many years.
The natives were aware of medical uses for roots, bark, leaves, and gum. They used a herbal infusion made from the root or bark to treat diarrhea. They mixed the gum in water to make a herbal infusion, which was used for treating eye infections. Mesquite gum was used for treating sore throat and gastrointestinal problems.
Mesquite leaves were crushed and mixed them with water. This was used as a remedy for headaches.
Out here mesquite wood is popular for barbecue, the wood burns slowly. The mesquite is an invasive species, and its bean pods were popular with cattle who would eat the seed pods, digest them but the leave the seeds after going through the four stomaches
to come out mixed in the manure. So that is supposed to be be how they spread from Texas through the Southwest.
The mesquite survives well in the arid Southwest. Its tap roots can go down 200 feet to reach water, and itís lateral roots can spread 50 beyond its crown.
Itís branches can be used by birds for nesting sites, and the ground underneath provide safe areas for small animals to burrow protected from predators. The flowers provide nectar for butterflies and bees, who then can spread the pollen.