Mesquite is the common name for several plants in the genus Prosopis. Within this categorization, there are over 40 species of trees, all being leguminous (bearing pods), and ranging in size from shallow-rooted low shrubs, up to deep-rooted 50 ft trees. It is one of the few sources of fixed nitrogen in the desert environment.
Native to the southwest US and northeastern Mexico, its current range encompasses over 54,000 square miles. Mesquite trees have been around for a very long time, going all the way back to the Pliocene era! Our English designation for this tree is from the Spanish word mezquite, which was taken from the Nahuatl term mizquitl.
We may be more inclined to immediately conjure up images of barbecues and meats with a smokey mesquite flavor, but in all actuality, mesquite’s health benefits reach far beyond your backyard grill.