Prosopis L. species
Mesquite is declared under the Catchment and Land Protection Act (1994) as a State prohibited weed. Mesquite is native to northern South America, Central America and southern United States. It was introduced into Australia for stock food, shelter and erosion control, and four species and several hybrids of mesquite have been found. In Victoria, small isolated infestations have been recorded in the Mallee, North Central, North East and Wimmera catchments.
Mesquite is very hardy and actively grows during prolonged drought.
What are State prohibited weeds?
State prohibited weeds either do not occur in Victoria, or are present and can reasonably be expected to be eradicated. State prohibited weeds are the highest category of noxious weeds under the Catchment and Land Protection Act (1994). The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) is responsible for the eradication of State prohibited weeds. The Victorian Government is committed to preventing the introduction of high-risk weeds into Victoria, to protect our environment, economy and social values.
Why is it a problem?
Mesquite is a threat because of its impact on primary production and the environment. It is an aggressive competitor which invades grazing land, causes loss of grass cover and inhibits stock access to waterholes. Spread is mainly by seed, through grazing or livestock movement, contaminated machinery, or flood waters. Established plants are long-lived, can produce abundant seed and withstand severe water stress.
How to identify mesquite
Mesquite species are usually deciduous and may be small trees or shrubs, varying in height from 1 m to 15 m. Branches have a zig-zag appearance.
Leaves are bright green and fern-like. A pair of spines is usually present above each leaf stalk on the stem.
Flowers are a green-yellow 'lamb's tail'; 5-8 cm long; in clusters of 2–5 near the ends of branches appearing in spring to summer. Seed pods are 10-20 cm long, containing 5-20 seeds.
What should you do if you find a mesquite plant?
If you think you have seen a mesquite plant, please contact DEDJTR by telephoning 136 186.
Please do not attempt to control or dispose of this weed yourself.