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question about mesquite tree variety

 
Nathan Funke
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hi folks, I was recently listening to a recorded lecture by bill mollison regarding desert permaculture and he talked about a specific variety of mesquite tree called Prosopis Pallida, also called the Kiawa tree and American Carab. he said that hawaii has developed several different varieties of it and i was hoping someone out in the forum might be able to help.

First, has anyone been able to find a resource that you can obtain them at?

Second, does any one know of a variety of pallida that is thornless?

I greatly appreciate any help you might be able to provide
 
John Elliott
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Nathan Funke wrote:hi folks, I was recently listening to a recorded lecture by bill mollison regarding desert permaculture and he talked about a specific variety of mesquite tree called Prosopis Pallida, also called the Kiawa tree and American Carab. he said that hawaii has developed several different varieties of it and i was hoping someone out in the forum might be able to help.

First, has anyone been able to find a resource that you can obtain them at?

Second, does any one know of a variety of pallida that is thornless?

I greatly appreciate any help you might be able to provide


Your best resource for Prosopis seeds would be the Desert Legume Project at the University of Arizona. They have an extensive seed bank and if anyone has seeds for the species and variety that you are looking for, they do. I'm not sure there are any thornless varieties of mesquite. Since blackberries are tasty and sell well in the marketplace, there was a lot of incentive to develop a thornless variety. If you've ever munched on a mesquite pod, well the incentive is just to spit it out and let the cows have it.

As far as 'carab', do you mean carob tree? These are commonly used as landscaping plants in Southern California and they need a Mediterranean climate. Most garden stores in California should carry them. One mature tree can put out lots and lots of pods in a season, enough so that it will keep a family in all the fake cocoa powder that they could eat.

Don't have any personal experience with "kiawa", I'll be interested to hear what other people have to say on that one.
 
David Goodman
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I've had the pods of Prosopis velutina and they're delicious. Like vanilla wafers.

Here's a problem, though: a lot of the mesquites are on the noxious weed lists. The government is terrified of them escaping the desert, apparently. Getting seeds is tough unless you have a friend.

I own my own nursery in Florida. When the USDA inspector found I had started some mesquites from seed, she said "THEY GOTTA GO!"
 
John Elliott
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David Goodman wrote:I've had the pods of Prosopis velutina and they're delicious. Like vanilla wafers.

Here's a problem, though: a lot of the mesquites are on the noxious weed lists. The government is terrified of them escaping the desert, apparently. Getting seeds is tough unless you have a friend.

I own my own nursery in Florida. When the USDA inspector found I had started some mesquites from seed, she said "THEY GOTTA GO!"


To each his own. Not one of my favorites at all I guess I should keep quiet about the ________ seeds I got from the DLP and what I am doing with them. I have a feeling that with climate change coming, anything that can do well in long dry spells and is good forage and is a legume that doesn't need nitrogen is going to be quite in demand.

And Australia, where they have declared all out war on Parkinsonia, needs to wise up and take what they can get to grow in their increasingly drought stressed continent.

P.S. David, you can drop the 8b from your climate zone. This last year, we never got below 20F, meaning that 9a has made it all the way up to Augusta.
 
David Goodman
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I wish, John!

We hit the teens this last winter and the winter before. The new zone map is too simplified. I could grow some really cool stuff if I was solidly zone 9, dang it...
 
Nathan Funke
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Thanks John,
I'll have to try there The University of Arizona like you suggested.

David, do you think I would get in trouble if I wanted to grow this on my own property? Where could I find a list of "noxious weeds" that have been banned from my area?
 
John Elliott
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Nathan Funke wrote:Thanks John,
I'll have to try there The University of Arizona like you suggested.

David, do you think I would get in trouble if I wanted to grow this on my own property? Where could I find a list of "noxious weeds" that have been banned from my area?


Nathan, this page from the USDA can help you with that question. It shows the native range for Prosopis velutina, and it has a search box on the left hand side where you can access others maps for other species. And when you click on each state, it will break it down to native ranges in that state by county. That will let you know what is considered to be "native ranges", and then your local state agriculture department will have a list of the plants they are most concerned about.

Prosopis, Parkinsonia, and Olneya species are native to North America, and where you run into problem is when you have hooligans (like David), who bootleg seeds from west to east. I can't imagine why Florida would want to ban Prosopis; it's likely going to die from too much water or get outcompeted by faster growing plants. Maybe someone got a thorn in their thumb and is determined to eradicate the genus.
 
David Goodman
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"David, do you think I would get in trouble if I wanted to grow this on my own property?"

No. The USDA inspector wouldn't have even known what it was unless I'd told her. Obviously, I'm not advising you to do anything... but:

1. No one is going to wander your property looking for "invasives."
2. Even if they did, "invasives" unknown to your area aren't going to be identified. Here, every inspector knows what air potatoes and cogongrass look like, and they're after them. Not mesquite trees.

"Maybe someone got a thorn in their thumb and is determined to eradicate the genus."

That's as good a guess as any. Heck, it's a "Federally listed" invasive. That means you aren't even allowed to grow it in Alaska. Even if you COULD.

And hey... I'm not a hooligan! I'm just a plant geek who was looking for a bit of homegrown mesquite for my smoker.
 
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