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Prosopis pallida - (Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) Kunth

Common Name Algaroba
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dry coastlines, often dominating in arid, saline soils[414 ].
Range S. America - Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Prosopis pallida Algaroba

Wikimedia.org - Forest & Kim Starr
Prosopis pallida Algaroba
Wikimedia.org - Eric Guinther


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Prosopis pallida is a deciduous Tree growing to 12 m (39ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees. The plant is not self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Acacia pallida Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd. Mimosa pallida (Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) Poir. Prosopis limensis Benth.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seedpod
Edible Uses:

The seedpods can be added to soups and corn meal; or made into a sweet syrup and used to prepare various drinks[418 ]. Staple Crop: balanced Carb.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The seedpods are used in the treatment of dysentery[414 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


Agroforestry Uses: The tree is suitable for reforestation of hot dry areas where the soil is highly saline[418 ]. The tree is grown as a cover for the soil and shifting sand dunes in order to prevent erosion[414 ]. Other Uses: The bark is a source of tannins[414 , 418 ]. A gum exuding from the trunk can be used in glue and vanish[414 , 418 ]. The heartwood is dark reddish-brown, the sapwood light yellow[414 ]. The wood is dense, strong, relatively easy to work, durable but susceptible to termite attack[414 ]. It is used for crossties, piling, rural carpentry, vehicle parts, furniture, fence posts etc[418 ]. The wood can be used for fuel and for making charcoal[418 ]. Industrial Crop: Biomass. Fodder: Pod.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen  Fodder: Pod  Industrial Crop: Biomass  Management: Coppice  Management: Standard  Minor Global Crop  Other Systems: SRC  Staple Crop: Balanced carb

A plant of drier areas in the tropics and subtropics, where it can be found at elevations up to 300 metres[418 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 28°c, but can tolerate 19 - 32°c[418 ]. Mature plants can be killed by temperatures of -2°c or lower, but new growth can be killed at -1°c [418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 500 - 1,000mm, but tolerates 250 - 1,250mm[418 ]. Requires a sunny position. Succeeds in a range of well-drained soils, including saline soils[418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6, tolerating 5 - 6.7[418 ]. Established plants have deep tap roots and are very drought tolerant[305 , 418 ]. The tree can form dense thickets. It is a prolific producer of seed, which can be dispersed by water, in mud adhering to animals, boots etc, and by being eaten and defecated[305 ]. It has escaped from cultivation in many areas and can become an invasive and troublesome weed[305 , 418 ]. Plants grow quite slowly when young, to around 1 metre annually[414 ]. Plants are very fast to mature, able to flower and fruit within two years of sowing the seed[418 ]. Trees can be coppiced[414 ]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[755 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen  Plants that contribute to nitrogen fixation include the legume family – Fabaceae.
  • Fodder: Pod  Fodder plants with pods.
  • Industrial Crop: Biomass  Three broad categories: bamboos, resprouting woody plants, and giant grasses. uses include: protein, materials (paper, building materials, fibers, biochar etc.), chemicals (biobased chemicals), energy - biofuels
  • Management: Coppice  Cut to the ground repeatedly - resprouting vigorously. Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Minor Global Crop  These crops are already grown or traded around the world, but on a smaller scale than the global perennial staple and industrial crops, The annual value of a minor global crop is under $1 billion US. Examples include shea, carob, Brazil nuts and fibers such as ramie and sisal.
  • Other Systems: SRC  Short-rotation coppice.
  • Staple Crop: Balanced carb  (0-15 percent protein, 0-15 percent oil, with at least one over 5 percent). The carbohydrates are from either starch or sugar. Annuals include maize, wheat, rice, and potato. Perennials include chestnuts, carob, perennial fruits, nuts, cereals, pseudocereals, woody pods, and acorns.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing to speed up germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing. Suckers Layering

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

English: mesquite; prosopis. Spanish: algarrobo. Local Common Names: Brazil: algarobeira. Cape Verde: espinheiro; spinho. Colombia: algarrobo; algarrobo forragero; anchipia guaiva; aroma; cuji; cuji negro; cuji yaque; manca-caballo; mesquite; trupi; trupillo. Djibouti: garawa. Ecuador: algarrobo. French Polynesia: carobier. Peru: guarango; huarango; taco; thacco. USA/Hawaii: algaroba; kiawe; mesquite.

SOUTHERN AMERICA: Bolivia, Chuquisaca, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

It has escaped from cultivation in many areas and can become an invasive and troublesome weed[305 , 418 ]. Algaroba (Prosopis pallida) is regarded as a significant environmental weed in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, and as apotential environmental weed or "sleeper weed" in other parts of Australia. This species is actively managed by community groups in Queensland and the mesquites (Prosopis spp.), as a group, are also one of the 20 Weeds of National Significance (WoNS) in Australia.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Prosopis africanaPau Carvão. Mesquite. Iron treeTree10.0 10-12 SLMHNM223
Prosopis albaWhite carob tree, Algarrobo blancoTree10.0 10-12 MLMHNDM323
Prosopis chilensisChilean algarrobo, Chilean mesquiteTree12.0 10-12 MLMNDM203
Prosopis cinerariaJandi, GhafTree6.5 10-12 MLMHNDM323
Prosopis glandulosaHoneypod mesquite. Glandular mesquiteTree7.0 8-11 FLMHNM324
Prosopis julifloraMesquite, Honey MesquiteTree10.0 7-12 FLMNDM324
Prosopis tamarugoTamarugoTree12.0 10-12 FLMHNDM103

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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(Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) Kunth

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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