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All About Mesquite or Devil Trees

Updated on December 13, 2016
Au fait profile image

C. E. Clark has an unquenchable curiosity for things unique, and loves to bring those things she discovers to the attention of her readers.

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, allowing more mesquites to move in and take over, and also because of its 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 to be found 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. | Source
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. | Source

Close Call With Those Thorns! (Under 4 minutes)

Mesquite seedpods

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. | Source

Mesquite seedpods or beans can lie dormant for up to 40 years waiting for conditions to be just right for sprouting!

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.

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.

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."

Do Mesquite Trees Come in Male and Female Varieties, and Are Mesquite Trees 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 qestion 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 dicerning 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 is 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.

Information Sources:

University of Arizona

https://cals.arizona.edu/fps/sites/cals.arizona.edu.fps/files/cotw/Mesquite.pdf


University of Arizona, Aridus Bulletin

https://cals.arizona.edu/desertlegumeprogram/pdf/aridus19-2.pdf


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! | Source
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. | Source

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 it 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.

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.
Many mesquite trees look scrubby. They can thrive in any soil except soggy soil and will take over if allowed to do so. | Source

References

Texas Coop Power

http://www.texascooppower.com/texas-stories/nature-outdoors/the-much-maligned-mesquite

.

DesertUSA.com

http://www.desertusa.com/jan97/du-smesquite.html

.

Tucsoncitizen.com

http://tucsoncitizen.com/wryheat/2010/06/25/mesquite-trees-provide-food-and-a-pharmacy/

.

Texas Almanac

http://www.texasalmanac.com/topics/science/ubiquitous-mesquite

.

Giant mesquite bugs

http://colinlmiller.com/wildlife/hemiptera/hemiptera_mesquitebugs.htm


Marjorie Woodruff on what desert plants are edible

http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=96299


© 2013 C E Clark

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    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 5 weeks ago from North Texas

      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:

      https://hidalgo.agrilife.org

      Hidalgo County Office

      410 N 13th Ave

      Edinburg, TX

      78541-3582

      hidalgo-tx@tamu.edu

      956-383-1026 (phone)

    • profile image

      Paul Desrosiers 6 weeks ago

      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?

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 6 months ago from North Texas

      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.

    • profile image

      Bob F. 6 months ago

      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.

      Thanks

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 9 months ago from North Texas

      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!

    • profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 10 months ago

      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

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 10 months ago from North Texas

      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. :)

    • profile image

      Barry 11 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Nina Innsted 13 months ago

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

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 15 months ago from North Texas

      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 . . .

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 15 months ago from North Texas

      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 profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 15 months ago from Texas

      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.

    • profile image

      diogenes 15 months ago

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

      How are ya darlin? xx

      Bob

    • profile image

      dorothy 15 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Au fait 17 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 17 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      Au fait (the author of this article) 18 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Yo yo 18 months ago

      Thorns are huge

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

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

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

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

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      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.

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      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!

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

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

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      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.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      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 profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      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 W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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.

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      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 profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      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.

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      k@ri, Thanks for stopping by!

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      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.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 2 years ago from Ohio

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

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      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.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      AuFait I learned so much from this article. I do know that I like foods that are prepared using mesquite wood...it 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 W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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.

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      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 profile image

      frogyfish 3 years ago from Central United States of America

      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.

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      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. :)

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

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

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      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 W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

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

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      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 profile image

      frogyfish 3 years ago from Central United States of America

      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 profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      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.

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      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 profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      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

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

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

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      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!

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      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank you Au fait. I appreciate it.

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      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      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.

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      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      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.

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      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      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.

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      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

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

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      George 3 years ago

      Hi, misty,

      I like this hub, hate the tree.

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      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      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

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      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      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?

      xoox

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      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      Moonlake, thank you for 'Scooping' this article!

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      moonlake 3 years ago from America

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

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      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      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.

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      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      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 . . .

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      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

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

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      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      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.

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      rcorcutt 3 years ago

      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.

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      moonlake 3 years ago from America

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

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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      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.

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      vladi 4 years ago

      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

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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      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. ;)

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      Paul Richard Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      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.

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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      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.

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

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

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      Silva Hayes 4 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      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.

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      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      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

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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you Peggy W for tweeting this hub!

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      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

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

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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      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.

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      Glenda 4 years ago

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

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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      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

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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      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!

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      diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

      "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?

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      Mary G. Ramos 4 years ago

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

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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you Peggy W for pinning this hub!

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      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

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

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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      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. ;)

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      Deborah-Diane 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      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!

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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      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 . . .

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      Glenda Jacks 4 years ago

      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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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you for stopping by Shyron. I wonder if you've watched the video? It shows a man who almost lost his eye with one of those awful thorns.

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      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago from Texas

      Au fait, I love trees, all but this one. It really is the devil's own tree.

      It thrives in the Texas heat.

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Thanks again Glenda Jacks for reading and commenting on this hub. I didn't mention it here, but I did come across some info about some people using those seed pods to make tea.

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      Glenda Jacks 4 years ago

      have not seen these up close, but even at a distance don't like the ugly bean pods.

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Viveresperando, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub and for sharing your experience with your Mesquite tree in your front yard! I'm glad the trees have good points and that they can be useful and beneficial sometimes. That thorn through the bottom of your shoe sounds awful, but I'm glad the tree is providing lots of shade and shelter for the birds too!

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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you Brett, for reading, commenting, voting, and especially for tweeting, pinning, and sharing this hub! I thought the dormancy of the seed pods was extraordinary too, but also how deep the tap roots could go and how long they could be! Devil tree sounds right.

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      viveresperando 4 years ago from A Place Where Nothing Is Real

      Enjoyed reading this! I have a mesquite tree in my front yard. :) I live in the AZ desert. :) I do love the tree. They are great for our desert, we don't have to water them, they create homes for birds, and give wonderful shade during the summer. I have had were I step on a branch that was just cut and the thorn goes right through my shoe! Most desert plants have thorns. But if maintained properly it is a beautiful site. Just had mine "professionally maintained" it finally grew so big that I could no longer manage it myself. It is so well worth it though. :) I am very excited to see how it looks when it "fills in" again. :)

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      Brett Caulton 4 years ago from Thailand

      The say that cockroaches would survive a nuke, but I get the feeling this tree would too! lol. "seedpods or beans can lie dormant for up to 40 years", that is pure determination, or natural genius, depending on how you look at it ;-).

      Shared, pinned, tweeted, up, and interesting

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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you Jonny Windows for reading and commenting on this hub! Long time no see. You're probably right about dropping the bomb on a Mesquite forest. It might even act as a fertilizer! ;)

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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Marcy Goodfleisch, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub! Yes, it does seem to be a survivor tree and once it gets a good footing it's all but impossible to get rid of it.

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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      rajan jolly, thank you for reading, commenting, voting and sharing this hub! Since you have so many great hubs on the benefits of different food, you might consider looking into whether or not there are any particular health benefits to cooking with mesquite chips or if it's just flavoring. I didn't explore or expand on that facet of mesquite trees.

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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you for such high praise, Shyron! You are always appreciated.

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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      vespawoolf, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub! I have no personal experience with them, but everyone says (and it's documented) that mesquite trees grow better than a bad weed once they get a foot hold. All but impossible to get rid of them . . .