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Mesquite

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Wood identification

Wood identification

Seven species of mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa, P. juliflora, P. pubescens, and others) cover some 54 million acres of Texas, and parts of Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Mexico. Wherever it grows, it's hardy and persistent. In the arid part of its range, you'll see mesquite as more of a shrub than a tree. But in favorable conditions it grows to 50' with a single, but crooked, trunk up to 3' in diameter. Chocolate-colored, furrowed, and scaly bark make mesquite easy to identify. Its wide, spreading canopy made of twisted branches and long, thin leaves may be the only silhouette on an otherwise featureless landscape. Spring through fall, yellowish white flowers appear, followed by bean pods up to 8" long. Sharp thorns are everpresent. The wood of mesquite can vary in color from dark brown with wavy, blackish lines to camel tan. Whatever its color, the grain is straight to wavy, medium to coarse in texture, and tightly interlocked. Weighing 45 pounds per cubic foot dry, it's as heavy as hickory and as strong, but even harder. And the wood rates as stable in use, indoors and out.


Continued on page 3:  Uses in woodworking

 

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