Prosopis juliflora

Prosopis juliflora
Prosopis juliflora
Young tree
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Mimosoideae
Tribe: Mimoseae
Genus: Prosopis
Species: P. juliflora
Binomial name
Prosopis juliflora
(Sw.) DC.

Many, see text

Prosopis juliflora (Spanish: bayahonda blanca) is a shrub or small tree native to Mexico, South America and the Caribbean. It has become established as a weed in Asia, Australia and elsewhere. Its uses include forage, wood and environmental management.[1] The tree grows to a height of up to 12 metres (39 ft) and has a trunk with a diameter of up to 1.2 metres (3.9 ft).[2] It's known to hold the record for depth of penetration by roots. Prosopis juliflora roots were found growing at a depth of 53.3 meters (nearly 175 feet) at an open-pit mine near Tucson, Arizona.[3]

The plant possesses an unusual amount of the flavonoid (-)-mesquitol in its heartwood.[4]



Mulla tumma inflorescences and leaves, Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary (Andhra Pradesh, India)

Vernacular names

This is a well-known plant in its native range as well as in India, having a range of vernacular names, although no widely used English one. It is called bayahonda blanca in Spanish and bayarone Français in French. Other similar names are also used, including bayahonde, bayahonda and bayarone but these may also refer to any other Neotropical member of the genus Prosopis. The tree is known by a range of other names in various parts of the world, including algarrobe, cambrón, cashaw, épinard, mesquite or mostrenco. Many of the less-specific names are because over large parts of its range, it is the most familiar and common species of Prosopis, and thus to locals simply "the" bayahonde, algarrobe, etc. "Velvet mesquite" is sometimes given as an English name, but properly refers to a different species, Prosopis velutina.[2]

Names in and around Indian Subcontinent, where the species is widely used for firewood and to make barriers, often compare it to similar trees and note its introduced status; thus in Hindi it is called angaraji babul, Kabuli kikar, vilayati babul, vilayati khejra or vilayati kikar. The angaraji and vilayati names mean they were introduced by Europeans, while Kabuli kikar (or keekar) means "Kabul acacia"; babul specifically refers to the Gum Arabic Tree (Acacia nilotica) and khejra (or khejri) to Prosopis cineraria, both of which are native to South Asia. In Gujarati it is called gando baval. In Tamil Nadu, in Tamil language it is known as cheemai karuvel, a quite literal equivalent of vilayati babul. A vernacular Tamil name is velikathan, from veli "fence" + kathan "protector", for its use to make spiny barriers. In Andhra Pradesh, in the Telugu language it is known as mulla tumma (ముల్ల తుమ్మ) or sarkar tumma.

In the Wayuu language, spoken on the La Guajira Peninsula in northern Colombia and Venezuela, it is called trupillo or turpío.[5]


This plant has been described under a number of now-invalid scientific names:[1]

Parts drawing from the 1880-1883 edition of F.M. Blanco's Flora de Filipinas.
Blanco already suspected that Prosopis vidaliana, then quite recently described, was identical with bayahonda blanca.
  • Acacia cumanensis Willd.
  • Acacia juliflora (Sw.) Willd.
  • Acacia salinarum (Vahl) DC.
  • Algarobia juliflora (Sw.) Heynh.
Algarobia juliflora as defined by G. Bentham refers only to the typical variety, Prosopis juliflora var. juliflora (Sw.) DC
  • Desmanthus salinarum (Vahl) Steud.
  • Mimosa juliflora Sw.
  • Mimosa piliflora Sw.
  • Mimosa salinarum Vahl
  • Neltuma bakeri Britton & Rose
  • Neltuma juliflora (Sw.) Raf.
  • Neltuma occidenatlis Britton & Rose
  • Neltuma occidentalis Britton & Rose
  • Neltuma pallescens Britton & Rose
  • Prosopis bracteolata DC.
  • Prosopis cumanensis (Willd.) Kunth
  • Prosopis domingensis DC.
  • Prosopis dulcis Kunth var. domingensis (DC.)Benth.
C.S. Kunth's Prosopis dulcis is Smooth Mesquite (P. laevigata), while P. dulcis as described by W.J. Hooker is Caldén (P. caldenia).

Prosopis chilensis was sometimes considered to belong here too, but it is usually considered a good species these days.[2] Several other authors misapplied P. chilensis to Honey Mesquite (P. glandulosa).[1]

Invasive status

P. juliflora is considered a noxious invader in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, where it was introduced in the late 1970s and early 1980s, as well as in Australia, where it has colonized more than 800,000 hectares of arable land. In the Afar region its aggressive growth leads to a monoculture, denying native plants water and sunlight, while denying its nutrients with the animals that eat its pods or its leaves. The Regional government with the non-governmental organisation FARM-Africa are looking for ways to commercialize the tree's wood, but pastoralists who call it the "Devil Tree" insist that P. juliflora be eradicated.[6]


  1. ^ a b c "Prosopis juliflora - ILDIS LegumeWeb". Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  2. ^ a b c "Prosopis juliflora". Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  3. ^ Raven, Peter H.; Evert, Ray F.; Eichhorn, Susan E., ed (2005). "Chapter 24". Biology of Plants (7th Edition ed.). New York, USA: Freeman. pp. 528–546. ISBN 0-7167-1007-2. 
  4. ^ Unusual amount of (-)-mesquitol from the heartwood of Prosopis juliflora. Sirmah Peter, Dumarcay Stephane, Masson Eric and Gerardin Philippe, Natural Product Research, Volume 23, Number 2, January 2009 , pp. 183-189
  5. ^ Villalobos et al. (2007)
  6. ^ Caroline Irby, "Devil of a problem: the tree that's eating Africa" (accessed 14 January 2009)


  • Duke, James A. (1983): Prosopis juliflora DC.. In: Handbook of Energy Crops. Purdue University Center for New Crops & Plant Products. Version of 1998-JAN-08. Retrieved 2008-MAR-19.
  • International Legume Database & Information Service (ILDIS) (2005): Prosopis juliflora. Version 10.01, November 2005. Retrieved 2007-DEC-20.
  • Villalobos, Soraya; Vargas, Orlando & Melo, Sandra (2007): Uso, manejo y conservacion de "yosú", Stenocereus griseus (Cactaceae) en la Alta Guajira colombiana [Usage, Management and Conservation of yosú, Stenocereus griseus (Cactaceae), in the Upper Guajira, Colombia]. [Spanish with English abstract] Acta Biologica Colombiana 12(1): 99-112. PDF fulltext

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  • Prosopis juliflora — Algaroba Al ga*ro ba, n. [Sp. algarroba, fr. Ar. al kharr?bah. Cf. {Carob}.] (Bot.) (a) The Carob, a leguminous tree of the Mediterranean region; also, its edible beans or pods, called {St. John s bread}. (b) The Honey mesquite ({Prosopis… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • PROSOPIS JULIFLORA DC. - ПРОЗОПИС СЕРЕЖКОЦВЕТНЫЙ, АЛЬГАРОБА. МЕСКИТОВОЕ ДЕРЕВО — см. 406. Дерево. P. juliflora DC. П. сережкоцветный, Альгароба. Мескитовое дерево Prodr. II (1825) 447. Holland II (1911) 285. Corrẽа 1 (1926) 68. S y n. Mimosa cumana Poir.; M. pallida Poir.; Acacia falcata Desf.; A. flexuosa Lag.;… …   Справочник растений

  • Prosopis juliflora — ID 67891 Symbol Key PRJU3 Common Name mesquite Family Fabaceae Category Dicot Division Magnoliophyta US Nativity Introduced to U.S. US/NA Plant Yes State Distribution HI Growth Habit Tree, Shrub Duration …   USDA Plant Characteristics

  • Prosopis juliflora — noun mesquite of Gulf Coast and Caribbean Islands from Mexico to Venezuela • Syn: ↑algarroba, ↑Prosopis juliiflora • Hypernyms: ↑mesquite, ↑mesquit • Part Meronyms: ↑algarroba, ↑algarrobilla …   Useful english dictionary

  • Prosopis Juliflora — DC. Mesquite (E); Aroma (P); Manca caballo (C,P); Trupilla (C) . Elsewhere, Indians grind the pods into a flour used for baking and gruels. The fruits are eaten by cattle, and the flowers are attractive to bees. The bark is used for roofing in… …   EthnoBotanical Dictionary

  • Prosopis juliflora (Sw.) DC. — Symbol PRJU3 Common Name mesquite Botanical Family Fabaceae …   Scientific plant list

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