The Amazing Mesquite Tree

March 07, 2017

The Amazing Mesquite Tree

The Amazing Mesquite Tree If you know anything about mesquite trees, you know that they are a tough species. With more than 40 species found worldwide, and seven of those growing in Texas, it’s safe to say that the mesquite has learned to adapt. And man has learned to benefit from its toughness. Native Americans used the mesquite and its beans for a bevy of things including shelter, food, a source for many remedies, a drink, gum, protection, and more. At times of drought or war during the frontier days, mesquite trees and beans were a valuable resource for settlers, including being a valuable food source. During the Civil War, when coffee was scarce, mesquite beans served as a delicious substitute. This is exactly why we love the mesquite tree so much here at Cappadona Ranch. This one-of-a-kind tree has been an invaluable resource in the American southwest for hundreds of years and we strive to keep that tradition alive by offering a variety of products like jellies and drinks that aren’t just good, but good for you too. Interested in learning more about the mesquite tree? Continue reading on for some more amazing information.

Facts About The Mesquite Tree

Texas makes up approximately 172 million acres of the United States, and out of that land, mesquite can be found on nearly 60 million acres. In fact, 76% of all mesquite trees in the US grow in Texas (though they are found natively in other Southwestern states). The arid conditions of the southwest have been ideal for the mesquite, as it requires little water, and has developed a number of adaptations that help it survive in drought conditions. The mesquites’ leaves are small and wax coated, which help to minimize evaporation of the plant’s water. The tree’s flowers are highly fragrant and do a great job of attracting pollinating insects, especially bees. During major drought conditions, the mesquite may even shed its leaves to help better conserve moisture. One of the most remarkable aspects about the mesquite is its root system. Their taproots will find subsurface water at depths of 150 feet below the surface. Their reach has given them a huge competitive edge in the desert landscape, with their wide-spreading, deep-rooted systems hosting colonies of nitrogen-fixing bacteria enriching the low nutrient desert soils, helping to improve its germination and growth. Mesquite trees not only produce beans that serve as nutritious food for wildlife, they also provide perches and nesting sites for birds—even hummingbirds. A member of the legume family (scientifically known as Fabaceae), there are three common species of mesquite in the American southwest, including honey mesquite, screwbean mesquite, and velvet mesquite. The trees typically range from a few feet of the ground to 10–15 feet high, however in favorable settings, honey, and velvet mesquites can grow up to 30–60 feet tall.

A Seed That’s Just as Strong

A mesquite roots aren’t the only powerful tool it has, their seeds can lie dormant for up to 40 years before sprouting. Their ability to remain dormant for so long helps to improve their odds for wide distribution and successful germination. The seed pods, which are called beans, can grow up to 10 inches long and resemble green beans. The seed pods mature during the late summer and are covered with a sweet coating that has made them appetizing to not only animals but humans as well. The seedpods are not only sweet but nutritious as well. The fructose found in the bean doesn’t require insulin to be metabolized, it contains about 35% protein, has about 25% fiber, and according to some scientific studies, can even help to regulate blood sugar (a very meaningful bonus for diabetics). The mesquite bean can be cooked, dried, grounded, and used in a variety of dishes and drinks. From ancient days to modern times, there’s nothing quite like the delicious (and healthy) mesquite bean.

Cappadona Ranch loves the mesquite tree and bean.

From our one-of-a-kind, delicious Cappadona Ranch Mesquite Bean Jelly, to our savory and sweet Mesquite Bean Roasted Coffee, we just can’t seem to get enough of mesquite beans. If you want to get your hands (and tastebuds) on some of our delicious “Texas gold” treats, contact Cappadonna Ranch today at (956) 867-1819 or at