Mesquite

Mesquite (Prosopis species) is a State prohibited weed.

Flowers and leaves of mesquite

If you find mesquite

If you think you may have seen mesquite, please contact us by:

Please do not attempt to treat or dispose of this weed yourself. We will treat, remove and dispose of mesquite safely, at no cost to the land owner.

Mesquite is native to northern South America, Central America and southern United States. It was introduced into Australia for:

  • stock food
  • shelter
  • erosion control

Fully grown mesquite

In Victoria, small isolated infestations have been recorded in northern and north-west rural areas of the state. Four species and several hybrids of mesquite have been found in Australia.

Why you must report mesquite

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
  • inhibits stock access to waterholes.

It is spread mainly by seed, through grazing or livestock movement, contaminated machinery, or flood waters.

Mesquite branch

Established plants are long-lived, can produce abundant seed and withstand severe water stress.

Mesquite is very hardy and actively grows during prolonged drought.

Identifying mesquite

Mesquite species are usually deciduous and may be small trees or shrubs, varying in height from 1m to 15m.

Mesquite pods

Branches have a zig-zag appearance.

Leaves are bright green and fern-like. A pair of spines up to 7.5cm long is usually present above each leaf stalk on the stem.

Flowers are green-yellow and arranged in dense spike-like or 'lambs tail' clusters at branch ends. Flowers appear in spring to summer.

Seed pods are up to 20cm long, containing 5 to 20 seeds.

Page last updated: 02 Sep 2021