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Prosopis tamarugo - F.Phil.

Common Name Tamarugo
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Arid salt flats, sometimes with salt incrustation of 10 - 60cm thickness at the surface and the water table at a depth of 20 metres[418 ].
Range S. America - northern Chile.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Prosopis tamarugo Tamarugo


Hans Peter Möller - Flickr
Prosopis tamarugo Tamarugo
Pablo Trincado - Flickr

 

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Summary

Prosopis tamarugo is a very drought and salt tolerant tree. It participates in hydraulic redistribution moving water from deeper levels to the upper and also reversing the process in times of severe drought. Often found in areas where there is no rain for years at a time; however, at night there is a high relative humidity and the trees absorb moisture through the leaves. The trees will grow on saline soils that do not allow for other trees.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Prosopis tamarugo is a deciduous Tree growing to 12 m (39ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.
It can fix Nitrogen.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline 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

Synonyms

No synonyms are recorded for this name.

Habitats

Edible Uses

The pods can be leached and used for food[418 ].

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.


None known

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Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: The tree is being planted in large numbers in northern Chile in a reforestation project - it is the only tree that can grow in such a harsh, arid climate[491 ]. Nitrogen. Other Uses: The wood is very heavy and very hard - making it difficult to work with[303 ]. It is used for furniture, and construction[418 ]. The wood is used for fuel and making charcoal[418 ].Fodder: Pod, Bank. At Pampa del Tamarugal, a silvopastoral system with small ruminants was established. The mature fruit and dry leaves of tamarugo fall on the soil and can be used as fodder for goats, sheep and cows.The leaves and the fruits of tamarugo, around 7000–9000 sheep and goats can survive in an original desert region. In fact, a 14–22 years old tree can produce 20–70 kg of fodder per year.

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen  Fodder: Bank  Fodder: Pod  Management: Coppice  Management: Standard  Regional Crop

The plant occurs naturally in arid areas of the tropics, within the latitudinal range 18 - 21°S, at elevations from 1,000 - 2,500 metres[418 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 - 32°c, but can tolerate 8 - 36°c[418 ]. Dormant plants can be killed by temperatures of -12°c or lower, though fresh young growth can be killed at -1°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 150 - 250mm, but tolerates 100 - 300mm[418 ]. It is often found in areas where there is no rain for years at a time; however, at night there is a high relative humidity and the trees absorb moisture through the leaves[418 ]. Requires a sunny position. Succeeds on salty, salty-sandy or clay-loam soils, sometimes with a 40cm salt encrustation at the surface[303 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 7 - 8, tolerating 6.5 - 8.5[418 ]. Established plants are very drought resistant, able to go for 12 months or more without rain[418 ]. Under less harsh conditions that the plant experiences in its native environment, the plant might spread uncontrollably and become a serious weed[418 ]. Trees can reach 10 metres in height within 15 years, even under harsh conditions[418 ]. The tree coppices well, regenerating rapidly when cut back[303 , 418 ]. Annual wood production potential is 2 - 4 cubic metres per hectare[418 ]. 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 ].

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Propagation

Seed

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Tamarugo

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Chile*, South America

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.

Under less harsh conditions that the plant experiences in its native environment, the plant might spread uncontrollably and become a serious weed[418 ].

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Lower Risk/conservation dependent

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Prosopis africanaPau Carvão. Mesquite. Iron tree22
Prosopis albaWhite carob tree, Algarrobo blanco 22
Prosopis chilensisChilean algarrobo, Chilean mesquite20
Prosopis cinerariaJandi, Ghaf22
Prosopis glandulosaHoneypod mesquite. Glandular mesquite32
Prosopis julifloraMesquite, Honey Mesquite32
Prosopis pallidaAlgaroba22

 

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F.Phil.

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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