I’m on vacation, so a few of the entries to the end of February will be short. — Daniel.
Prosopis laevigata is one of roughly fifty species of mesquite. Smooth mesquite is native from Texas south to Argentina. Throughout its range, it is primarily a species of interior highlands, where it is found in open forests and grasslands. Occasionally, when it is the dominant woody species of forests, these forests are called mezquiteras.
According to 20 Árboles de El Charco del Ingenio, local peoples in Guanajuato use the pods to make a regional version of the beverage atole (scroll down this page for atole de mezquite). Very sensible, as it seems the flour made from the pods is a potential (and highly nutritious) economic crop. However, use of the plants, particularly for timber and firewood, has caused numbers to decline. Fortunately, it remains a “species of lower risk / least concern” according to the IUCN Red List.
The bees (and other hymenopterans) were swarming around this particular tree in yesterday’s afternoon sun, and apparently a very fine honey is produced. Although we spotted the hive, we lacked our beekeeper suits and didn’t sample it.