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Prosopis pubescens (Screwbean Mesquite)

Screwbean Mesquite, American Screwbean, Tornillo, Screwbean, Screwpod Mesquite, Twisted Bean, Fremont Screwbean, Strombocarpa odorata

Prosopis pubescens, Screwbean Mesquite, American Screwbean, Tornillo, Screwbean, Screwpod Mesquite, Twisted Bean, Fremont Screwbean, Strombocarpa odorata

A graceful southwestern native, Prosopis pubescens (Screwbean Mesquite) is a deciduous shrub or small tree of vase-like habit with long, slender branches and an open canopy of feathery, bluish-green leaves. Twice-compound, the small leaves, up to 3 in. long (7 cm), have 5-9 pairs of leaflets. The twigs are armed with paired slender spines, up to 1 in. long (2.5 cm), at the base of each leaf. From late spring to mid-summer, a profusion of pale yellow flowers appear in narrow clusters. Favored by bees, they are followed by decorative clusters of tightly coiled pods, 2 in. long (5 cm), that contain numerous seeds. They are valuable forage for livestock and wildlife. Native Americans made meals, cakes, and syrup from the pods and prepared a treatment for wounds from the root bark. The unusual seedpods can also be used in dried arrangements. Prized for its beautiful flower displays, blue-green foliage, and unique seedpods held in groups like Christmas ribbons, Screwbean Mesquite is a naturally shrubby plant that is often used as a barrier planting, but it can be trained as a tree where light shade would be desirable.

  • Grows up to 8-30 ft. tall and wide (240-900 cm). In the northernmost portion of its range, it commonly grows up to 8-13 ft. (240-390 cm).
  • A full sun lover, this plant is easily grown in dry to moistwell-drained soils. Tolerates a wide range of soil textures from light and sandy to heavy, clay soil textures. Supplemental summer irrigation is important in most southwestern desert locations. Drought tolerant and some tolerance to saline soils.
  • No serious pest and disease issues. Deer resistant.
  • Prune as desired to reinforce the structure and shape of the tree. Periodic thinning is best: remove about 20% of the canopy during the growing season
  • Propagated by seed. Seeds can be stored in sealed, refrigerated containers for several years. Treatment is usually not necessary.
  • Native range extends from southeastern California west into southern Nevada, extreme southwestern Utah, southern and western Arizona, southwestern and south-central New Mexico, western Texas, and northern Mexico, including Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, and Coahuila.

Requirements

Hardiness 7 - 10
Climate Zones 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Leguminosae
Common names Tornillo, Mesquite
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 8' - 30'
(240cm - 9.1m)
Spread 8' - 30'
(240cm - 9.1m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Dried Arrangements, Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Utah
Tolerance Drought, Deer
Attracts Bees, Birds
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden
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Recommended Companion Plants

Condea emoryi (Desert Lavender)
Larrea tridentata (Creosote Bush)
Atriplex canescens (Four-Wing Saltbush)
Parkinsonia florida (Blue Paloverde)
Rhus trilobata (Skunkbush Sumac)
Baccharis salicifolia (Mule Fat)
Amorpha fruticosa (Indigo Bush)
Chilopsis linearis (Desert Willow)
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 7 - 10
Climate Zones 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Leguminosae
Common names Tornillo, Mesquite
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 8' - 30'
(240cm - 9.1m)
Spread 8' - 30'
(240cm - 9.1m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Dried Arrangements, Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Utah
Tolerance Drought, Deer
Attracts Bees, Birds
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?

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