Plant: Tree or shrub Leaves: Tree or shrub; leaves alternate, with one pair of pinnae; leaflets about 3-5 times longer than wide, to 10 mm long, 11 to >20 pairs/pinna Flowers: inflorescence a dense, spikelike cylinder, 6-9 cm long; flowers numerous, crowded, pale yellowish, 4-5 mm long; Fruit: pods strait to moderately curved, 10-20 cm long, slightly constricted between seeds. References: Shreve and Wiggins 1964.J.C. Hickman, ed. The Jepson Manual.
Benson and Darrow 1981, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Common Name: velvet mesquite Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Tree Wetland Status: FACU General: Common, shrub or tree, reaching to 17 m, with dark brown, thick bark that comes off in long narrow strips and hard, heavy, reddish-brown, yellow sapwood. Leaves: Alternate, deciduous, bipinnately compound, with 1 or 2 pairs of pinnae each with 9-30 pairs leaflets; leaflet 4-13 mm long, oblong, closely spaced on stalk; paired straight stipular spines 1-2 cm borne at nodes. Flowers: Greenish yellow flowers in spikelike racemes 5-12 cm long. . Fruits: Legume 7.6-20.3 cm long, pubescent, non-dehiscent, sweetish pulp Ecology: Common along washes, in bottomlands, slopes and mesas from 3,000-5,500 ft (914-1675 m). Distribution: c and s CA, AZ, NM; south to n MEX; (Africa and Australia when iincluding all juliflora). Notes: Distinguished by being a small shrub (<1 m) to a large tree (>15 m) with pubescence on leaves, twigs and pods; the bipinnate leaves with 1 or 2 pairs of pinnae, always with hairs; stout, straight paired spines on either side of leaves; and the longer than 4 cm, semi-straight, compressed, light brown-tan pods, as opposed to coiled pods in P. pubescens . Ethnobotany: Excellent fuel, charcoal, posts, novelties, cattle eat the pods, browse, honey; grassland invader; pods make highly edible flour. Etymology: Prosopis was a Greek name for burdock (seemingly misnamed), while velutina refers to velvet-like. Synonyms: Neltuma velutina, Prosopis articulata, Prosopis chilensis var. velutina, Prosopis juliflora, Prosopis juliflora var. articulata, Prosopis juliflora var. velutina Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015