The abundant Velvet Mesquite—gracing Arizona, New Mexico, and adjacent northern Mexico desert regions—provides a natural symbol of sustainable peace. Considered a "nurse tree" to many desert plants that feed from its nitrogen-rich soil, it also provides food, shelter, and shade for large and small animals, birds, and rodents. The mesquite pod is a staple food for humans. Tea, syrup, and ground meal called pinole can be made from various parts of the tree and the mesquite bark can be used to make baskets, fabrics, and medicine. The slow-burning wood makes good firewood and an aromatic charcoal for barbequing. This tough, winter deciduous desert plant, that forms groves or "bosques", has a massive root system that can grow down fifty feet to reach water and the tap root can be as big around as the trunk. Additionally, it has a second, lateral root system that spreads close to the soil's surface to catch and absorb rain. The Velvet Mesquite demonstrates balance and harmony—essential elements needed for a culture of peace.
Velvet Mesquite Illustrator: George Malesky
This artistic rendering is of an actual Velvet Mesquite in Agua Caliente Park. It is one among many trees identified by signs installed by the Pima County Parks Department in 1998.