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Mesquite and Its Amazing Relationships in Nature

June 21, 2017

Mesquite and Its Amazing Relationships in Nature

Mesquite trees can be found all over the world, from the American Southwest to northern Africa, eastern Asia, and even right here in our very own Rio Grande Valley. In total, there are over 40 different species of mesquite to be found all across the globe. Most of these are native to South America, which is thought to be the place of origin for the many different varieties.

Here at Cappadona Ranch, we carry on the tradition of seeing the mesquite for what it is - a truly unique and versatile natural wonder.

We share our love for the mesquite tree and its delicious beans by offering a variety of scrumptious mesquite beans products like our Mesquite Bean Jelly, Roasted Mesquite Tea, Mesquite Roasted Coffee, and even Mesquite Bean Flour.

The mesquite, for all the wonderful history that it has had with people, carries on an even longer tradition and relationship with the wildlife on our planet.

Let’s Back Up a Bit

The Ice Age, a period of time ranging from about 2 million to 10,000 years ago, is not an era that we would normally associate with plant life. We might conjure up pictures of wooly mammoths or ground sloths in our minds, especially if we’ve watched any of the Ice Age movies.

However, scientists believe the mesquite tree “coevolved” with these large Ice Age animals. And it was perfect timing for the mesquite.

These large herbivores would feed on the pods of the trees and spread them by depositing them in their dung.

While not the prettiest way to get around, it was a system that worked very well for the mesquite. The chewing of these large animals helped get the seeds ready to grow, by scarifying them, before they returned to the ground.

The strong digestive juices of these animals also killed natural parasites and the droppings had the nutrients and moisture to help the seedlings become new trees.

The seeds were planted wherever the giant plant-eaters roamed - over flood plains, prairies, and mountains. This lasted until the end of the last Ice Age when these large animal transports sadly went extinct. 

This extinction caused mesquites to fall back to the more accommodating flood plains and washes, with grasses taking back the areas the trees had vacated.

A Whole New World

It was a long time until the mesquite tree found a way back into the places they had once thrived. This new help came in the form of the domesticated livestock of European settlers in the Southwest, particularly cattle.

The livestock found a new and enjoyable food source in the mesquite tree beans and became the new transport system for the mesquite seeds.

Interestingly, the livestock fed heavily on the grasses in the desert, and in the process took out the competition. The reduction in the amount of grass also decreased the number of wildfires, which had played a hand in limiting the spread of mesquite.

Some Things Never Change

Today, the honey mesquite and the velvet mesquite continue their journey in the American Southwest.

While cattle continue to play a role in the dispersal of mesquite seeds, there are a number of other species, including deer, coyotes, javelinas, and rabbits, that also play a part in the movement of seeds.

But there is more than just eating and moving that goes on between the mesquite tree and nature. In Arizona, the flowers of the honey mesquite tree attract over 60 species of native bees, in addition to wasps and butterflies.

While you might not be a big fan of wasps, the trees do attract other flying creatures, like white-winged and mourning doves.

Many species that help spread the seeds of the mesquite also find cover within them. Deer, javelina, turkey, and other small mammals all find safety within the dense layers of mesquite in the wild.

Anyway that you look at it, the mesquite is connected to the rest of nature in a very important and beneficial way.

Cappadona Ranch is happy to share the amazing journey of the mesquite tree and mesquite bean with you and your family.

The all-natural products that we offer are sure to help boost the quality of your diet and their great taste just might persuade you to help spread the word on what others are missing.

Give us a call today at (956) 867-1819 or send us an email at Info@Cappadonaranch.com to find out more about all of our amazing and healthy mesquite bean products.