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All About Mesquite or Devil Trees

Ms. Clark has a solid appreciation for hard science and likes to share interesting things she learns in the course of her research.

Here is a mesquite tree growing in its natural environment. Many mesquite trees look scrubby. They can thrive in any soil except soggy soil and will take over if allowed to do so.

Here is a mesquite tree growing in its natural environment. Many mesquite trees look scrubby. They can thrive in any soil except soggy soil and will take over if allowed to do so.

Why Are They Called Devil Trees?

Early-day ranchers like W.T. Waggoner called mesquite “the devil with roots” because it absorbs all of the water in its surroundings, causing other plants and trees to wither away and die. This, in turn, allows more mesquites to move in and take over. Last but not least, this tree has positively vicious thorns.

Area and Physical Traits of the Mesquite Tree

Mesquite trees are one of the toughest trees known to man, with more than 40 species worldwide and 7 of those species growing in Texas. The most notably prolific of those mesquite trees growing in Texas is the honey mesquite.

Of the 167.5 million acres that Texas takes up in this United States, the honey mesquite flourishes like a bad weed on at least 56 million of them, or grow over a third of the state. 76% of all mesquite trees in the U.S. grow in Texas though they are native to other Southwestern states also.

Mesquite trees vary considerably in size. They can reach up to 50 feet tall with a branch spread of 40 feet or more, or they can turn into a shrub with many trunks. Yes, strange, I agree.

The reason a young mesquite tree will sometimes turn into a shrub is that it forks very close to the ground and if anything damages one of its new shoots—an animal or severe weather—the tree then evolves into a sprawling shrub closer to the ground instead of a tall tree. Sometimes it turns into a mesquite forest because the shrub expands so far.

While the honey mesquite tree has creamy white fluffy flowers from early spring all through summer into fall and delicate, feathery leaves similar to those on the mimosa tree (my favorite tree), it also has thorns that are 3 inches long coming out of the base of its leaf stems.

Those thorns are “tough as nails,” according to Mary G. Ramos, self-described “editor emerita,” writing for Texas State Historical Association Texas Almanac. Plenty of animals and people have experienced just how vicious they can be.

Mesquite Tree and Thorns

The clumps of green you see in this mesquite tree are mistletoe.  Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that frequently grows in all trees in Texas.  It becomes readily visible when the leaves fall off the trees.

The clumps of green you see in this mesquite tree are mistletoe. Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that frequently grows in all trees in Texas. It becomes readily visible when the leaves fall off the trees.

Here is a close-up view of a twig from a Mesquite tree in North Texas lying next to a ruler so you can see how long and wicked the thorns are.

Here is a close-up view of a twig from a Mesquite tree in North Texas lying next to a ruler so you can see how long and wicked the thorns are.

How Brian Almost Lost His Eye (Under 4 minutes)

Mesquite Seedpods

Seedpods are the means by which the mesquite tree propagates itself, and those seedpods can be up to 10 inches long. The seedpods are called beans since they resemble green beans, only much larger, and they mature in late summer when they are covered with a sweet coating that has a sugar content of as much as 30%.

It is common for people to chew the sweet coating off the seedpods or beans but to spit out the beans once that coating is chewed off. Ms. Ramos says the seedpod coating is delicious.

But before you chow down, consider this. Marjorie Woodruff, Ph.D., warns:

Remember that a plant which is eaten by animals is not necessarily safe for human consumption. There are no safe rules for determining poisonous plants. One should never eat any plant unless absolutely sure that it is an edible species. If there is any doubt, it is better to go hungry.

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The beans of the mesquite tree are edible. The bean pods can be cooked and eaten like green beans when they are first forming and soft. After they have dried, they can be ground and cooked like pinto beans."

Mesquite seedpods have a sweet outer coating that is delicious to chew.  The seedpods can get up to 10 inches long.

Mesquite seedpods have a sweet outer coating that is delicious to chew. The seedpods can get up to 10 inches long.

Do Mesquite Trees Come in Male and Female Varieties, and Are They Toxic?

Characteristics of individuals of any plant or tree species may differ somewhat. Janet E. Laminack, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulture agent, says thorns may vary in length within any one of the mesquite species simply because no two individuals are exactly the same.

I consulted with Ms. Laminack because it was suggested to me that the thorns may vary within one species according to whether the specific tree was male or female. Many plants and trees are not sex specific while others are. Mesquite trees are not sex specific; in other words, they are not male or female in variety. If their thorns differ in length it is either because they are of different species or have individual differences within the same species.

Since mesquite trees of different species do often look very similar, I recommend that anyone trying to determine a tree’s species examine the trees in question very carefully for differences.

The second most common mesquite tree in the U.S., the velvet mesquite, can grow as tall as the honey mesquite and is generally the larger of the two trees, with a trunk around 24 inches in diameter. The thorns are often an inch or so longer also. The leaves look similar, and most people do not think of trunk diameter as a discerning characteristic among trees, so it may be possible to think there is only one species of tree growing in your backyard when, in fact, there are two.

Another issue that has come to my attention is that some people have very unpleasant reactions from being pricked by the thorns of a mesquite tree—aside from the physical pain and damage that often occurs.

The swelling and other symptoms people experience are the result of a sensitivity or allergic reaction the unfortunate person has to the tree or something left on the part of the tree that person had contact with. Fur, hair, dander, feces, or something else not so obvious may have been left behind by an animal that was in the tree, or a person may simply have a sensitivity/allergy to mesquite trees.

I know from personal experience with allergies that an allergy may not be known to a person until that person’s skin is broken (scratched, cut, or torn in some way) by the allergen. Or when an allergen is introduced to an already existing scratch, cut, or tear in one’s skin that has not yet healed.

So the final answer is that no, mesquite trees are not toxic, and no, they are not sex specific as in separate male and female varieties.

Interesting Item About the Mesquite Seedpods

DuHamel says regarding the harvesting of mesquite seedpods or beans,

If you collect fallen bean pods, you may notice small holes in the pods. These holes are made by bruchid beetles, which infested the fallen bean as larvae, when it was green and tender. The holes were made by the mature beetle getting out of the bean. Don’t worry, the beetles just add more protein.

The Mesquite Tree Has Soft, Silky Leaves, and Giant Mesquite Bugs

The mesquite tree's leaves make the tree look unassuming and humble, but watch out for all those thorns!

The mesquite tree's leaves make the tree look unassuming and humble, but watch out for all those thorns!

Common Mesquite Bug are quite large and generally like to hang out in groups.

Common Mesquite Bug are quite large and generally like to hang out in groups.

What Are Mesquite Trees Good for?

To continue the subject of the previous paragraph, the seedpods can be not only sweet, but also quite nutritious. Writing for Tucsoncitizen.Com, Jonathan DuHamel says,

The pods of mesquite beans are very sweet and the sweetness comes from fructose which doesn’t require insulin to be metabolized. The seeds contain about 35% protein, much more than soybeans. Mesquite pods contain about 25% fiber. Some research suggests that mesquite meal, with a low glycemic index of 25, helps regulate blood sugar.

Another insect commonly found on mesquite trees is the giant mesquite bug, pictured in this article. The mesquite bugs usually gather in groups in the mesquite trees, so between their size and the fact that they’re clustered, you cannot miss them.

The mesquite tree is a legume and actually restores nitrogen back into the soil where it grows. The wood from the tree is highly valued by many furniture makers and artisans for sculptures. It is so hard that it is sometimes called Texas ironwood. The thorns are just as hard and very unforgiving.

The mesquite tree is perhaps best known for the yummy flavor its woodchips add to grilled foods like fish, beef, pork, chicken, some vegetables—especially corn on the cob, and even grilled pizza and toast!

The mesquite trees provide food for livestock when grass is not plentiful or downright non-existent, and shade to some extent, though it tends to have a lot of sunny patches included. It also provides food to a wide variety of wildlife.

While mesquite trees have many positive aspects, it is not generally anyone's first choice for landscaping or shade in their yard.

Mesquite Trees Are Winning the War With Ranchers

While many ranchers try to eradicate the mesquite tree, Clay Coppedge, writing for Texas Co-op Power, says everything they have done to accomplish that end so far has favored the mesquite tree. While ranchers may be winning the occasional battle, mesquite trees appear to be winning the war!

Texas Is Not the Most Hospitable Place

A Native Texan once told me that Texas is one of the most inhospitable places to humans on the planet, coming in just behind Australia. He said that because he believed that Texas has more poisonous critters and more vegetation that has briars and thorns and poisonous saps than any other place on Earth—except Australia. I do not know if that is true, but I do know that Texas has its share (and maybe a little more) of all the things that man talked about.

Survival Traits of the Mesquite Tree

The taproots of mesquite trees can grow from 25 to 75 feet down to reach a water supply and are legendary for growing deep. According to Ms. Ramos, quoting from the Texas Almanac, “In Texas Highways magazine in 1979, Steve Wilson, then director of the Museum of the Great Plains in Lawton, Oklahoma, reported some mesquite taproots a phenomenal 175 feet long.”

A couple of the things that make this tree so hardy is that it can adapt and do well in any kind of soil except soggy. Another advantage it has is that its seedpods can lie dormant for as long as 40 years while waiting for just the right conditions for sprouting. The mesquite tree is one of the last trees to leaf out in the spring making it less likely that its tender new buds will be damaged by an unexpected late freeze.

While the honey mesquite tree continues to annoy ranchers and some other people, it does seem to have a lot of good uses and benefits. It is a Texas icon, and a must-see for any visitors to the Lone Star State.


This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: How much water do Mesquite trees need?

Answer: I don't know for sure how much water would be optimum for Mesquite trees, but I do know they are very difficult to kill once they have a good start. They are trees that can tolerate nearly any abuse and survive if not thrive. Mesquite trees are plentiful here in Texas, and there are parts of Texas that are prone to drought. We're having another drought right now here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area now, and while conditions are far from perfect for mesquite trees, they will survive better than most trees. One reason many people hate mesquite trees is their root system that will drain all the water away from other trees and plants, especially when drought conditions exist.

Question: What is making the bark break away from my Mesquite tree?

Answer: Your tree could possibly be infested by borers. According to Home Guides, "Signs of borers include peeling bark, small holes and amber globules of resin on the trunk and branches of the tree." If the tree is important to you I recommend that you consult an arborist familiar with mesquite trees.

Question: My large mesquite tree secretes a large amount of sap, especially from where limbs have been cut off. Is this a sign of a sick tree?

Answer: "Sap carries important nutrients, water and hormones through the tree that are essential for a healthy plant. Pruning, damage, pests and disease are common reasons why trees ooze and drip sap. ( Mesquite trees often bleed sap, but if you are concerned for the health of your tree, I recommend that you consult an arborist familiar with mesquite trees if the tree is important to you and you want to save it.

Question: How old can a mesquite tree get?

Answer: Under optimum conditions a mesquite tree can reach 40 feet tall and live for 100 years.

Question: Should mesquite trees be covered when we have a hard freeze here in Arizona?

Answer: You can cover the tree(s) if you want to, but mesquite trees, according to most people, are pretty hard to kill. How serious a freeze is should be determined by how many hours the temperature remains below freezing (32º Fahrenheit). Also, how far below freezing is the temperature? If it is 31º for an hour, I wouldn't worry about it harming much of anything. If it gets down to 25º below zero for 5 minutes or longer, that's another matter.

Question: Our 35 yr old mesquite has a lot of leafless branches and the leaves it does have are yellowing. Is it possible it needs nutrients such as zinc & iron?

Answer: Rather than write it all over again, I'm referring you to The Bump:

Question: What are some learned behaviors of the mesquite tree?

Answer: So far as I know, trees, regardless of what kind they are, do not "learn". I think I pretty well covered what you can expect from the mesquite tree. Its characteristics will cause you to love it or hate it, so it would seem.

Question: Are the Mesquite trees' root of value?

Answer: I have read that some people dig up the root as much as possible, let it dry, and use it as fuel just like the bark or wood part of the tree. Otherwise, I'm not aware of any special use it has.

Question: How can I control or eliminate mesquite trees?

Answer: My best advice is to contact your county agent who should have that information tailored to your specific locality and it's free. I have never tried to do anything with mesquite trees, but I know people who cuss them continually, so prepare for a difficult experience.

© 2013 C E Clark


C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 11, 2020:

Janie Roberts, thank you for your inquiry. I would say it's a fast growing tree. Many people cuss the tree because they grow like weeds and they are ever so difficult to get rid of, but they do have certain advantages as well, as I've described in this article


Janie Roberts on August 10, 2020:

Are mesquite trees considered a slow, med or fast growing tree?

Luciano Solis on July 19, 2020:

The pods on your page are not mesquite. They belong to another similar tree. My spelling may be wrong I only know the Spanish name. Wisachae!

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on June 20, 2020:

Erika Kathleen, thank you for inquiry. I have asked several people your question and they have somewhat different answers. It depends. The trees may develop their pods at slightly different times in the spring depending on when winter ends. The region of the country you live in, as well as the climate may make a difference, along with how much precipitation occurs that particular year. Some years the pods may drop faster than others, because of weather, etc. Strong winds can blow them down sooner.

My best advice to you is to contact your county agricultural office/agent. There should be no charge and you can locate their office online by Googling "(your county and state) agricultural agent." Example: Dodge County, Wisconsin agricultural office. The agents there should be able to tell you all about the trees that grow in your area and much more.

Erika Kathleen on June 13, 2020:

My mesquite trees are starting to drop their beans. How long does the bean dropping cycle usually last?

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 22, 2020:

Peggy Woods, thank you for reading this article and sharing your thoughts on mesquite trees.

Not many people familiar with mesquite trees would pay cash for a seedling. Most people are tearing their hair out trying to find a way to be rid of the ones they have.

Very few people actually appreciate mesquite trees. Most native Texans as well as others who have moved here know a lot about mesquite trees if they've been here long. They are not human (or animal) friendly to say the least.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 15, 2020:

Mesquite trees were abundant in south Texas. I do not see many here in the Houston area. I have never seen one on a lot selling trees for that matter. Perhaps nursery owners are educated about these trees.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on May 24, 2019:

Kumara, thank you for your inquiry. Here in Texas, mesquite trees grow pretty much anywhere they want to. Not positive about the rocky slopes, since we don't have a lot of those around where I live, but everywhere else you mentioned, and more. As I stated in this article, they grow a lot like weeds and are super difficult to get rid of once they get a little root hold. Mesquite trees are not known for being delicate -- not here in Texas anyway. You might want to peruse the comments on this article as you will learn about some of the experiences people have had with these trees, and that may help answer your question. Also, be sure to take advantage of the county agriculture agent who will know the answers to all your questions about mesquite here in Texas and much more. The county ag agent is paid for with tax dollars, so don't be shy about taking advantage of his/her knowledge.

kumara on May 23, 2019:

Where do mesquite trees grow? Ex. Rocky slopes, along creeks, in open meadow.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on October 11, 2018:

Shyron, thank you for taking time to share your thoughts on this tree! Good to see you. Yes, my research suggests that mesquite trees can tolerate almost any abuse and survive, sometimes even thrive.

Hope all is well with you also. Blessings . . .

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on October 06, 2018:

Au fait, this tree is truly the devil's tree, no matter how hot it get it thrives.

I hope all is well with you.

Blessings always my dear friend.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on October 02, 2018:

Luciano, thank you for letting me and my readers know that there is at least one person in the world who loves these trees. I think what most people hate is that mesquite trees are so difficult to remove once they get a start. There can be advantages to their thorns if one places the trees strategically . . .

Luciano on September 30, 2018:

I have a ton of these trees. I love them. I go around trimming every single twig away from the more established branches. I make them look like big bonsais plant.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on September 12, 2017:

Paul Desrosiers, thank you for your comment/inquiry. I'm glad you enjoyed this article!

Yes, honey mesquite trees do grow around the Mission, Texas area, probably right in town in many cases. The mesquite tree is considered invasive, and as I stated in this article, they're all but impossible to kill.

I'm not all that familiar with Mission, so I don't know if there are nature exhibits of any kind there, but I would recommend you contact the agricultural county extension office in the county where Mission is located (Hidalgo county). County extension offices are gold mines of information on a wide variety of subjects relating to gardening, farming, pets, cooking/preserving, etc. They should be able to answer any questions you may have about trees or plants in Hidalgo County, or the town of Mission.

Hopefully the info below will be helpful to you:

Hidalgo County Office

410 N 13th Ave

Edinburg, TX


956-383-1026 (phone)

Paul Desrosiers on September 07, 2017:

Ms. Clark, I find this tree/shrub fascinating after reading your article. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

In the next year or year and a half, my wife and I will be moving to Mission, Texas. I was wondering if there might be mesquite trees/shrubs near this area. Are there nature exhibits where I could learn more about mesquite?

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on April 20, 2017:

Bob F., thank you for reading, and for sharing this unfortunate accident with me and my readers. It sounds like you may be having an allergic reaction, but I would definitely recommend you get yourself to the emergency room pronto. That edema doesn't' sound good at all. I feel that you are tempting fate in the worst way. Please go to an emergency room ASAP.

Bob F. on April 18, 2017:

I had a mesquite thorn get me in the right hand little finger knuckle over a week ago. I have been fightng this thing ever since with an old remedy my grandparents taught me. Turpentine. It will stop the pain over night when it is so bad it throbs when below my heart and no chance of movement because of extreme pain. I have developed a serious problem that my wife is furious about and that is Edema in my whole right hand. It is twice the size of my left and when the turpentine wears off is unbearable. Other than going to a hospital yesterday as advice (why my wife is mad) have you heard of anything like this before? I have a lot of medical problems you name it so this has give me pause to worry.


C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 31, 2016:

Shyron, thank you for visiting this article and sharing your thoughts. I have just recently updated this article including new information. I hope it will make this an even more comprehensive reference.

It is indeed bad news when old trees are destroyed. Several have been destroyed here too in the name of building new apartment complexes that no one can afford to live in anyway. I hate them.

Hope all is well with you and John. Hugs and blessings. Happy New Year!

Shyron E Shenko on December 13, 2016:

I just came back to read your hub about the horrid tree again. I am glad that they are all gone from the property across the road, but the bad news is they took down 100 year old oak and pecan trees also.

I hope all is well with you.

Blessings my dear friend

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 13, 2016:

Barry, thank you for your inquiry regarding mesquite trees. Please accept my apology for taking so long to respond. I was unable to find a clear and definitive answer to your question regarding the ‘sex’ of mesquite trees in correlation to the length of their thorns in my usual research. However I consulted with a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulture agent , Janet E. Laminack, who was kind enough to share her knowledge on this issue.

Here is Ms. Laminack’s response in my words, not hers. While some trees and other plants are sex specific as in male or female, there is no such variation for mesquite trees. There is no such thing as male or female mesquite trees. I have added an additional section to my original article above in accordance with these findings, as well as including Ms. Laminack’s explanation as to why the length of thorns may vary. Please check it out above.

Barry, I want to thank you also for sharing your experience with the drilling issue. Yes, mesquite trees do add a lot of nitrogen to the soil. :)

Barry on November 02, 2016:

I wonder if you can answer a question for me? On my friend's property in Arizona there are several mesquite trees. They have been there for many, many years and were part of the native desert before the land was developed for residential use. The trees all appear to be the same species (same leaf structure and color, same wood color, same bark color/texture, etc), however, there are a few trees that have HUGE thorns that I have seen penetrate car tires and work boots (between 2-4 inches in length) and the others have small, more delicate thorns (still hard and sharp, but only around 1 inch in length). He was told by a neighbor (who is a landscaper) that the trees with large thorns are "male" and those with small thorns are "female." Your article, and others I have found contradict the idea that there is actually "gender" in mesquite trees. Do you have any idea why two trees of the same species, growing in the same environment would have such significant difference in a physical trait?

Mesquite trees are fascinating - years ago as a hydro-geologist I worked on a project where a water well was drilled in native desert to explore for water resources. All of the water samples came back very high in nitrate, and we were baffled, as typically nitrate contamination in groundwater is a result of fertilizer use in agriculture. As I was searching for an answer, I talked with an old-timer from Mexico who told me how deep mesquite trees can send their roots - to the water table. Turned out the nitrogen "contamination" was a natural by-product of the local mesquite population.

Nina Innsted on September 02, 2016:

Thank you for answering my questions! So helpful! Appreciate it!

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 19, 2016:

Shyron, thank you for coming by. I'm glad you're rid of the mesquite trees since they were a thorn in your side -- no pun intended. Didn't you say you burned them to get rid of them? There was a person who asked what mesquite smells like when it's burning and I hoped you would see that question and answer it for her if you could. I have no idea myself. I kept forgetting to mention it when we talked. Kept saying I was forgetting something.

Thanks again for coming by, and take care . . .

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 16, 2016:

Dorothy, I had hoped someone familiar with the smell of mesquite tree smoke would have answered your question, but so far no one has. I have read mixed reviews about it online. IF you Google it (What does mesquite tree smoke smell like?) you will find several answers. Some have said it's nasty if it has been allowed to dry well. Keep in mind that everyone has their own preferences and what disgusts some people may be appreciated by others. Thank you for your inquiry. I'm sorry I can't give you more incite on this issue.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on July 10, 2016:

Au fait, these trees are finally gone, I was working out there all morning, came in took a bath and sat down to see how discouraging my Hubber score would be down to an 84, the think that little of me.

Sorry I did not get a chance to call you yesterday.

Blessings and Hugs dear friend.

diogenes on July 09, 2016:

I love's almost good for nothing, like me!

How are ya darlin? xx


dorothy on July 08, 2016:

Can anyone describe what burning mesquite wood smells like. Thank you.

Au fait on May 23, 2016:

Sharon, thank you for commenting and sharing your views on theses trees. Yes, this hub has been niched and snipped. :)

Shyron E Shenko on May 15, 2016:

It seems this is a niched hub and there is not a share button.

I still hate these trees, I believe the roots go all the way to hell.

I hope all is well with you.

Blessings and hugs dear friend

Au fait (the author of this article) on April 25, 2016:

Yoyo, thank you for coming by and commenting. The thorns on this tree are indeed vicious.

Yo yo on April 19, 2016:

Thorns are huge

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 25, 2015:

AleciaC, thank you for commenting. The thorns are indeed wicked. Glad you enjoyed!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 23, 2015:

This is a very interesting hub, Au fait. Those thorns are impressive! I've eaten mesquite meal before and thought it was delicious. I enjoyed learning about the tree that it came from very much.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 07, 2015:

Poetryman6969, thank you for taking time to read and comment on this article and for the votes!

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 06, 2015:

Paula (Fpherj48), thank you for coming by and reading and commenting, and for all your kind words. Also for the votes and the pin. I'm so glad if you found this interesting and educational. Those thorns really are horrible. Plant some of these trees in strategic places and burglars won't bother you.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 05, 2015:

Shyron, so good to see you again and glad you find this article interesting. I think mesquite trees are quite interesting in their characteristics and their ability to frustrate people. Blessings to you also. I hope you're having a good day and staying cool!

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 03, 2015:

Peggy W., thank you for coming back for another look at this article. Glad you found it interesting!

poetryman6969 on July 03, 2015:

I remember being impressed by the size of the wicked looking thorns of this tree when walking on a nature trail near my old house in Texas. I had the vague notion that surely a tree would only develop thorns this long if it were protecting something good. Given what you say about the uses of the tree and it's seeds, that may well be true.

Voted up and interesting.

Suzie from Carson City on July 03, 2015:

Au fait.....How I love continuing education! And it is perfectly professional tutorials such as you provide that I enjoy reading. Starting out knowing very little about the mesquite tree, thanks to your fully informative article, I feel I would hold my own in conversation about this tree.

Texas quite obviously is home to a vast supply of these trees. I've made a note to ask my son about their presence in Georgia.

I'm impressed with their medicinal & health usefulness. They aren't a very "lovely" vision at first glance, but perhaps they look a bit better when their blossoms are in bloom. The thorns look mean & nasty!

Thank you so much for this great "Mesquite Trees 101." You are simply a Master, Au fait....UP+++ pinned.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on July 02, 2015:

I still hate these devil trees, with their thorns. but this is interesting and I thought I would share it again.

Blessings and Hugs, hope you stay cool

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 02, 2015:

Revisiting this hub of yours regarding the mesquite trees. We have had so much rain in Houston of late that we could actually use a little drying out time. Always feast or famine...or so it seems with the weather of late. Hopefully you needed the rain that you recently got up in your part of Texas. Sharing this once again. I always find it interesting learning about the different characteristics of trees and other plants for that matter.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on April 27, 2015:

Shyron, thank you for taking time out of your busy and frustrating day to write a comment on this article. I hope today was a better day for you both. Hopefully he'll follow through and put houses instead of apartments on top of those mesquite trees across the road. That won't be ideal, but better than it could be.

Hope your inside today staying dry. Take care . . .

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on April 27, 2015:

Au fait, they say that something good comes from every thing and the good that is coming from the developer building across the road from us is the mesquite (i.e. devil trees) will be gone.

Well, I know that every thing happens for a reason, but this is crazy, to much rain all at one time, yester we had the riding lawn mower stuck in the ditch and truck stuck on our lawn.

Blessings and Hugs.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 26, 2015:

k@ri, Thanks for stopping by!

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 25, 2015:

Patricia (pstraubie48), thank you for reading and commenting on this article, and for G+ing, tweeting, and pinning it, and for the votes too! Also, last but not least, for sending angels. I hope they are surrounding you and keeping you safe right this minute too.

I have never seen mesquite seed pods in a grocery store here. I think they are mostly sold by agribusinesses for livestock feed.

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on January 24, 2015:

Very Interesting. I agree those thorns are wicked. :)

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 24, 2015:

Peggy W, thank you for coming back and sharing this article again. Lots of people familiar with the mesquite tree hate them with a passion for the reasons listed here.

We're to warm up for a few days now. It's been fine during the day, just a bit nippy at night. Now it's to stay warmer at night again for a few days. Hope you are having nice weather and time to get out and enjoy it.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 22, 2015:

AuFait I learned so much from this article. I do know that I like foods that are prepared using mesquite does give a lovely flavor to the foods.

I did not know the nutritious property of the pods though. Can one purchase the pods at grocery stores in Texas?

Thanks for the informative article.

Voted up+++ g+ tweeted and pinned

Angels are winging their way to you this evening. ps

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 22, 2015:

Since you just visited my page regarding the Southern Magnolia Tree I thought that I would revisit yours regarding the Mesquite Tree. I still remember seeing loads of them in South Texas. Many people are probably not familiar with this type of tree. I never did hear them being called 'Devil Trees' but after reading this I can understand why they are considered as such. I guess the delicate lacy leaves are the angel part. Ha!

Happy to once again share this hub of yours. Stay warm and dry up where you live. It is certainly damp and cool in Houston today. We got lots of rain today.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 17, 2014:

Frogyfish, thank you for reading and commenting on this article! You inspired me to check on whether or not the seeds and seedpods of mesquite trees are edible or toxic, and it turns out they are edible not only for animals but for humans too. Things that animals can safely eat are not necessarily safe for human food, although I had already reported that people often chew the seedpods for their sweetness.

Very much appreciate your stopping by and inspiring an update to this article!

frogyfish from Central United States of America on August 16, 2014:

An interestingly informative article about a hardy plant specimen. I am curious why the bean is not humanly edible - as protein perhaps, related to the legume as you said. To my knowledge the only Mesquite trees I have noted are shrubby - in Arizona and New Mexico, though the tall tree type you pictured is spectacular. I'd wager the early Natives used those thorns for several purposes. Additionally, the bad name of this tree is similar to the Red cedars of Oklahoma, which also use up excessive water - but apparently serve no useful purpose. Thanks for sharing an interesting and informative article about our natural world.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 07, 2014:

Matthew T Rader, I've changed the URL for the photo so that it goes to your website, which has some really fabulous photos. Also changed the name on the attribution as requested. Hope it will be helpful to you. :)

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 27, 2014:

Thank you Peggy W for pinning this article and for sharing your appreciation of this tree!

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 25, 2014:

Frogyfish, thank you for reading and commenting on this article! I think this might be the perfect tree to line one's property with instead of a manmade fence . . . but keeping the trees from popping up everywhere and taking over seems to be the biggest problem.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 24, 2014:

Will pin this interesting hub to my Awesome Hubpages board on Pinterest. The leaves of the mesquite trees are so lacy looking and pretty.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 22, 2014:

Thank you for explaining, Shyron. It doesn't take a lot of some toxins to make people sick when those toxins seep into the ground water or the sewers. If your neighbors are doing the same, you could have more of it building up than you realize.

frogyfish from Central United States of America on March 22, 2014:

Enjoyed your informative article about the apparently vicious mesquite.

At least it was good that the bean pods are edible and nutritious and that wildlife can graze them when needed. The mesquite sounds like our Red cedars here in Oklahoma...they use up lots of water also, and add explosive fuel to our wildfires.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on March 15, 2014:

You use a paint brush and paint it on the leaves and stems. I use it a lot. But just on the Mesquite trees, new ones that are just coming up.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 15, 2014:

Shyron, thank you for stopping by and sharing what a problem these trees can be sometimes.

If you mean 24D herbicide, I hope you're not going to heavy on it as it's thought it may be dangerous to human health and could end up in your ground water and eventually coming out of your faucet (or somebody else's). Thanks for the votes and share too. Hope your weekend is off to a good start . . .

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on March 11, 2014:

Au fait, today was beautiful and I also find I am out of 24D the only thing that will kill the devil tree. At least the ones sprouting right about now. I hate these trees with a passion.

Love to read about trees, the live oaks are my favorites.

Voted up, UAI and shared

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 24, 2014:

PegCole17, you are most welcome. The honor is mine.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 23, 2014:

Thank you for stopping by Shyron. Sorry to hear the devil trees continue to be a PIB. All is as well here as it can be I guess. Just need more time and more sleep and things would be better, but we could all say that couldn't we? Thank you for being my best friend!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on February 22, 2014:

Thank you Au fait. I appreciate it.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 22, 2014:

PegCole17, I would be pleased and honored for you to link my hub with yours! Thank you for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed this article and found it informative.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on February 20, 2014:

I learned so much about this native tree from your article. Having lived in Texas for a couple of decades, I never knew the background and history of this interesting species, although I've heard of its wood being used in grilling food. Very enlightening! I would like to link your hub to mine about the Popcorn Tree. I hope you don't mind.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on February 20, 2014:

Au fait, as you know yesterday was beautiful and warm (70s) and I walked out to the fence in the back to replace a rail that the wind took down and I see the devil trees have sprouted. Need to get rid of them, soon.

I hope all is well with you, my dear friend.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 27, 2013:

Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment, George!

George on December 25, 2013:

Hi, misty,

I like this hub, hate the tree.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 18, 2013:

Diogenes, believe I answered your query yesterday. Hope today is a new beginning for a lovely day for you. Put your mind to work and create the world you want . . . xox

diogenes from UK and Mexico on December 17, 2013:

Misty...did you read my article on fossils? I just updated it cause no one read it and it's topical now. I don't know if they are published like a new article if the header is changed, do you?


C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 17, 2013:

Moonlake, thank you for 'Scooping' this article!

moonlake from America on December 15, 2013:

Thought I would add this to my Scoop-it. Interesting trees.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on November 09, 2013:

Thank you for sharing/pinning/voting on this hub. Sorry to hear that you have had so many problems with these trees. Hope all is well there with you guys now. Haven't seen you for a few days.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on November 08, 2013:

rcorcutt, thank you for reading and sharing your experience with mesquite trees. Like my dear friend Shyron, I hope your brother did not lose his sight in that eye, although it's hard to imagine otherwise. What an awful thing to happen. Just proves we never know what life has waiting for us around the corner . . .

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on November 07, 2013:

Thank you moonlake, for pinning and sharing this article! So glad you enjoy this subject.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on November 05, 2013:

Au fait, I came back to share this hub again. I hate these trees, they are truly devil trees.

Voted up, UAI, shared and pinned.

@rcorcutt, I hope your little brother's eye is okay and he did not lose his sight. I had one stuck in my upper arm, when we were cleaning up our property before our house was built. And we had many flats from the mesquite thorns on our tractor.

I have found that 24D will kill them, and as soon as I see one sprout, I spray it with 24D.

rcorcutt on November 05, 2013:

My mother has a farm in Cisco TX and it is covered in Mesquite trees. We hate them so much. They are like a disease. My little brother was riding his bike from school one day and slopped off the side of the road and impaled his eye dead in the center with a Mesquite tree thorn.

Cool HUB. Thank you.

moonlake from America on November 05, 2013:

Came back to share and pin this hub. So interesting about the mequite trees.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 31, 2013:

vladl, thank you for pointing this mistake out. I have only seen mesquite trees on a couple of occasions a while back, and I did think the thorns in the picture looked odd compared to the other photos of mesquite thorns I have here. Since the person who took the photo labeled them as mesquite thorns I figured s/he knew more about it than I do. I've removed the photo. Thank you for pointing this out and for stopping by to read this article.

vladi on August 31, 2013:

If I may.. the picture right under "Thorns a Plenty!" - with the big bunch of thorns - , is a picture of HONEY LOCUST thorns. They have a different pattern than mesquite thorn, very distinct and easy to recognize. Google it, you should find it easily.

Apart from that mistake, good article

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 27, 2013:

Thank you Paul Kuehn for reading, commenting, voting on, tweeting, pinning, and sharing this article on FB, and with followers!

Glad you found this article interesting and hopefully informative. Mesquite trees have good uses, and they would probably limit the entrance of thieves to your home if planted strategically. There are a variety of holly plants that serve that good purpose here in Texas too. ;)

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on August 24, 2013:

au fait,

This is an awesome hub which is well-researched, interesting, and very useful as usual. I don't think I've ever seen a mesquite tree, but I sure would hate to have them on my land. I can't imagine a tree with three inch thorns! It's amazing that the tree's roots can go so far underground to seek water. Voted up and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also tweeting and pinning.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 19, 2013:

Thank you Silva Hayes for reading and voting on this hub and especially for sharing your thoughts and experience with these trees. I agree that it's wasteful to destroy something that could be useful to someone.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 18, 2013:

Thank you for reading, voting on, and praising this article! Glad you found it interesting.

Silva Hayes from Spicewood, Texas on August 17, 2013:

I've always admired the mesquite tree. They are all over the place out in west Texas where I was born. Many of the ranchers poison and burn them by the thousands of acres. Without the mesquites, there's nothing to stop the area from turning into a dust bowl. I have always wondered why they didn't view them as a money-maker instead, and have crews cut them down and sell them as fuel for grilling and material for artists. My granny used to say that when there's nothing to graze on, the mesquite beans are the cattle's last resort and make the difference between them living and dying. They are beautiful in the spring when their new lacy leaves sprout. I do agree, though, that their thorns are vicious. Informative hub; I voted Up and Interesting.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 17, 2013:

Mesquite Trees Sometimes Called Devil Trees so interesting and thorny, incredible outlook here on this tree. Informative, and you have such a great hub, well presented with photos and educational. Voted up, interesting, and useful

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 08, 2013:

Thank you Peggy W for tweeting this hub!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 05, 2013:

Came back to share this hub again by tweeting. :)

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on June 15, 2013:

Thank you for stopping by Glenda. You are so right about those thorns. Honey locust trees are another tree that works well in front of windows. No one wants to climb those either, but they sure smell wonderful when in bloom.

Glenda on June 14, 2013:

These trees are very pretty, but those thorns are something I would not want to come in contact with. Well researched story.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on June 14, 2013:

Thank you for stopping in Diogenes -- Bobby -- and for sharing a ditty of sorts. The only thorny besterd I know is you, Sweetie, but I do know a lot of prickly ones . . . ;) xx

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on June 13, 2013:

Mary G. Ramos, you make it sound as if you've said something about this subject on this article before. I think you may have mixed this hub up with a different one, but thanks for stopping by just the same!

diogenes from UK and Mexico on June 10, 2013:

"It's a mesquite frae me,

A mesquite frae me,

If you're no a thorny besterd,

You're nae use ta me...

Yes the cactus are braw

The date palms an' a...

But the bonny wee mesquite's the queen of em a!"

Robie Burns xo

Know any thorny besterds, Misty?

Mary G. Ramos on June 10, 2013:

Actually, what I said is that the sweet coating is on the beans, not the pods.

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on May 03, 2013:

Thank you Peggy W for pinning this hub!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 25, 2013:

Now that I have joined Pinterest, this will be a perfect hub to add to my trees board. Consider it done!

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 19, 2013:

Thank you Deborah-Diane for reading and commenting on this hub! I knew almost nothing about these trees before a friend suggested I research them. I've still never even seen one close up, so don't feel bad -- I've been here for 24 years myself. Glad if this hub has helped you in some way -- if only to decide whether or not to plant these trees under your windows for security. ;)

Deborah-Diane from Orange County, California on March 16, 2013:

I lived for 25 years in Texas where mesquite trees are common, yet I never knew much about them until I read this article. Thanks!

C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 14, 2013:

Thank you Glenda Jacks for stopping by and reading/leaving a comment. It does seem like these are trees you either love or hate, no in between. The thorns certainly put me off . . .

Glenda Jacks on March 13, 2013:

some of these trees are beautiful, but they are devil trees, they thrive in hot humid weather, just like from hell.

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