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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 11/16/2012)
 

Flora Data (Last Modified On 11/16/2012)
Species PROSOPIS JULIFLORA (Sw.) DC.
PlaceOfPublication Prodr. 2:447. 1825.
Synonym Mimosa juliflora Sw. Prodr. Veg. Ind. Occ. 85. 1788. Mimosa piliflora Sw. Fl. Ind. Occid. 2:986. 1800, fide Burkart. Acacia juliflora Willd. Sp. P1. 4:1076. 1806. Neltuma juliflora' Raf. Sylva Tell. 119. 1838. Algarobia juliflora Benth. ex Heynhold, Nom. Bot. Hort. 2:18. 1840, fide Britt. & Rose. Neltuma Baheri Britt. & Rose, in N. Am. Fl. 23:185. 1928.
Reference Trans. Linn. Soc. 30:377. 1875
Description Small shrub to moderate tree, the branchlets terete, glabrous, flexuous, obscurely lenticellate, usually armed at the "nodes" with prominent paired spines up to a few cm. long. Leaves arising from very condensed short-shoots, moderate or moderately large, bipinnate, the pinnae mostly 1-2 pairs, opposite, the leaflets few to many pairs per pinna; petiole prominent, most frequently 2-5 cm. long, terete but flattened above, normally bearing a small, sessile, subconic gland apically above; rachis shorter than the petiole or obsolete, glabrous, apiculate terminally from be- low; pinnae 3-10 cm. long, the rachis glandular at the distal 1 to few rachial nodes; leaflets linear to oblong, 5-20 mm. long and 1-5 mm. wide, usually rounded or obtuse apically and basally, scarcely inequilateral, dull, glabrous or subglabrous, the venation remote and moderately prominent below; stipules linear, subsetiform. Inflorescence a slender, elongate, briefly pedunculate, axillary spike inserted on the short-shoots; peduncles mostly 1-2 cm. long, often sparsely pubescent and minute- ly bracteate above the middle; spike commonly about 6 cm. long, rather densely flowered, the floral bracts minute. Flowers sessile, whitish; calyx cupular, about 1 mm. long, glabrous or pubescent, the 5 teeth narrow and remote; petals 5, sub- linear, 2-3 mm. long, free (at least in age), pilose within especially distally; stamens normally 10, up to 6 mm. long, free, glabrous; anthers ovate, less than 1 mm. long, gland-tipped (gland often caducous); ovary pubescent; style stout, exceeding the stamens. Legume linear or linear-subtorulose, not uncommonly 20 or more cm. long and 8 mm. wide or wider, flattened or turgid, pulpy, indehiscent.
Habit shrub tree
Distribution In a broad sense United States to Argentina; in narrow sense West Indies, Venezuela, and Colombia.
Specimen PANAMA: Bella Vista, Standley 2539I; Maxon & Valentine 6958; Panama Vieja, Allen 824. DARIEN: La Palma, Pittier 6616.
Note This species is said to be the only one of the genus in Central America. Specific delimitation is exceedingly uncertain, and this difficulty is reflected in the unusually large number of synonyms which have accumulated. Certainly tremendous vari- ability in vegetative and legume characters is readily discernible in any folder of 'Prosopis juliflor" in any herbarium collection. Bentham could find no defining characters within the complex, and hence regarded the species very broadly. More recently Burkart (Darwiniana 4:105. 1940) has concluded that delimitation in the past has been excessively broad, and regards the species in a much stricter sense. However, Standley and Steyermark, with wide experience in the flora of the Amer- icas, question (Fieldiana: Bot. 24:87. 1946) whether P. juliflora can even be sep- arated from the older P. chilensis (Molina) Stuntz of southern South America. Certainly herbarium sheets labeled P. chilensis seem, at least upon superficial ex- amination, to fall within the limits of variability exhibited by sheets labeled P. juliflhra. The species, whatever may eventually prove to be its correct name and specific boundaries, is a locally important plant of xerophytic and subxerophytic regions. In Central America it seems confined to thickets on the Pacific slopes where a marked dry season is usually to be had. It there may reach proportions of a small tree. In its broad sense it is better known, however, as the mesquite of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States, where it is usually of smaller propor- tions. A great many common names are had for the species, among which are found cashew and algarroba. The stem and roots provide wood for fuel, or occasionally for fence-posts, cross-ties, etc. The wood is reported to finish well, and to be resistant to decay. The pods are pulpy, and the pulp after drying and grind- ing forms an edible meal said to be consumed by Mexican Indians. The pods are excellent for feeding stock. In addition, the plant reportedly provides excellent honey-flowers, a tannin from the bark, and a gum from the trunk.
 
 
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