Sunday, March 25, 2012

Magnificent Mesquite

About 2 weeks ago, our Honeypod Mesquite trees leafed out in earnest.
All of the trees are now completely covered in tiny, fern-like lime green leaflets.
HONEYPOD MESQUITE TREE - Prosopis pubescens 

A couple of days ago the catkins started to appear, with their pale yellow blossoms. They measure about 3-4 inches long.

The trees are alive with activity - honey bees, carpenter bees, wasps and other insects - all buzzing about as they pollinate the tiny clusters of flowers.

Birds are active in the mesquites too, moving quickly through the branches as they pursue their insect prey. Yellow-rumped Warblers and Verdin are particularly numerous.

After pollination, seed pods will develop over the next few months. Both pods and foliage are important food sources for many desert animals.

"As a tree, mesquite seems to me as graceful and lovely as any tree in the world...
The mesquite is itself a poem."

~Frank Dobie, Arizona Highways (1941)
(quoted by Ken E. Rogers in The Magnificent Mesquite)

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