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Useful Tropical Plants

Prosopis alba

Griseb.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Prosopis atacamensis Phil.

Prosopis siliquastrum longisiliqua Phil.

Prosopis panta (Griseb.) Hieron.

Common Name: Algarrobo Blanco

Prosopis alba
Tree growing in native habitat
Photograph by: Claudio Alvarado Solari
Creative Commons License
Prosopis alba Prosopis alba Prosopis alba Prosopis alba Prosopis alba

General Information

Prosopis alba is a thorny, semideciduous tree with a rounded crown; it can grow 5 - 15 metres tall[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. The bole is short with many branches, but can be up to 100cm in diameter[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
,
491
Title
Journal of the Arnold Arboretum Vol. 57
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University
Year
1976
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical magazine, this issue has a comprehensive treatment of the genus Prosopis as well as several other articles. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Trees with straight boles 2.5 - 3 metres long can occur, but these are becoming extremely rare because they are being cut in preference to other trees with shorter boles[
491
Title
Journal of the Arnold Arboretum Vol. 57
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University
Year
1976
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical magazine, this issue has a comprehensive treatment of the genus Prosopis as well as several other articles. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The plant is a valuable resource for arid areas, providing food, medicines and fuel. It is cultivated in parts of Argentina; is used in soil reclamation and conservation projects; and is also sometimes grown as an ornamental[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
,
491
Title
Journal of the Arnold Arboretum Vol. 57
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University
Year
1976
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical magazine, this issue has a comprehensive treatment of the genus Prosopis as well as several other articles. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
In recent years this timber species has been heavily exploited, notably in Argentina. The population structure is reported to be fundamentally changed. The plant is classified as 'Near Threatened' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2011)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
491
Title
Journal of the Arnold Arboretum Vol. 57
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University
Year
1976
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical magazine, this issue has a comprehensive treatment of the genus Prosopis as well as several other articles. It can be downloaded from the Internet.

Range

S. America - northern Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Peru.

Habitat

Arid and semi-arid regions with groundwater, such as drainage channels and along groundwater sinks. A common ruderal weed, coming up singly and in groups along roadsides, around habitations, on refuse dumps and in other disturbed habitats[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusNear Threatened
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitSemi-deciduous Tree
Height10.00 m
PollinatorsBees
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Prosopis alba is a plant mainly of the dry subtropical zone, extending into the tropics at higher elevations in Bolivia and Peru. (though it is found at elevations as low as 360 metres at latitude 18°S in Bolivia). It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures fall within the range 10 - 20°c, though it can tolerate 7 - 28°c and an absolute maximum of 45°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Mature specimens can tolerate occasional short-lived temperatures down as low as -6°c, though younger plants can be killed at -1°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 200 - 500mm, tolerating 100 - 700mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Requires a sunny position[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Succeeds in most soils so long as they are well-drained[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Tolerates somewhat saline soils[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.5 - 7[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Under optimal conditions a large tree (40 cm in basal diameter and 7 m in canopy diameter) may produce 40 kg of pods[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
].
There are some forms of this plant that are thorn-free[
414
Title
Forest, Farm, and Community Tree Network
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.winrock.org/fnrm/factnet/factnet.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of in-depth factsheets on a wide range of plants, especially leguminous trees.
].
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].

Edible Uses

Pod - fresh or dried[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. The pod can be eaten as a fresh fruit or conserved in its own sweet fresh juice[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. If the pod is dried then ground into a powder, it gives a flour that can be mixed with a little water and eaten immediately or used for making cakes[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The var Prosopis alba panta Griseb., is said to produce the best seedpods - these can be up to 30cm long and 18mm wide, fleshy with a sweet flavour[
491
Title
Journal of the Arnold Arboretum Vol. 57
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University
Year
1976
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical magazine, this issue has a comprehensive treatment of the genus Prosopis as well as several other articles. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The popular drink 'aloja' is prepared in Argentina with the fresh, sweet tasting pods[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. The mature or immature seedpods can be crushed and then fermented with cold water to make a good quality, beer-like beverage, and can also be used to distill stronger beverages.

The roasted seeds can be used as a coffee substitute[
1566
Title
Plantae Diaphoricae Florae Argentinae ó Revista Sistematica de las Plantas medicinales, alimenticias ó de alguna otr
Publication
 
Author
Hieronymus J.
Publisher
Guillermo Kraft; Buenos Aires
Year
1882
ISBN
 
Description
A very old work, but lots of information on the uses of Argentinian plants. It can be downloaded from the internet.
].

A gum obtained from the stems has a soft consistency and a sweet flavour. It is used as a candy[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Medicinal

Leaf extracts have shown antibacterial activity[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

The seedpods are said to be very nutritions and, when eaten as a food, can help to dissolve stones in the bladder[
1566
Title
Plantae Diaphoricae Florae Argentinae ó Revista Sistematica de las Plantas medicinales, alimenticias ó de alguna otr
Publication
 
Author
Hieronymus J.
Publisher
Guillermo Kraft; Buenos Aires
Year
1882
ISBN
 
Description
A very old work, but lots of information on the uses of Argentinian plants. It can be downloaded from the internet.
].
A poultice meade from the crushed immature fruits (after the seeds have been removed) and the bark is used to treat bone fractures where there are no external wounds[
1566
Title
Plantae Diaphoricae Florae Argentinae ó Revista Sistematica de las Plantas medicinales, alimenticias ó de alguna otr
Publication
 
Author
Hieronymus J.
Publisher
Guillermo Kraft; Buenos Aires
Year
1882
ISBN
 
Description
A very old work, but lots of information on the uses of Argentinian plants. It can be downloaded from the internet.
].

The bark, branches, gum and foliage are antiseptic, antidysenteric and emollient[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. They are used as a treatment against gastritis[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]

Agroforestry Uses:

The nitrogen fixing properties, rapid growth and deep roots make this a suitable species for erosion control and soil improvement[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The tree is planted in reclamation schemes for salt-affected soils[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Other Uses

A gum obtained from the trunk has physical and chemical properties similar to gum arabic (Acacia spp.)[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

The bark and leaves are rich in tannins[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
,
1566
Title
Plantae Diaphoricae Florae Argentinae ó Revista Sistematica de las Plantas medicinales, alimenticias ó de alguna otr
Publication
 
Author
Hieronymus J.
Publisher
Guillermo Kraft; Buenos Aires
Year
1882
ISBN
 
Description
A very old work, but lots of information on the uses of Argentinian plants. It can be downloaded from the internet.
]. The wood contains 5 - 9% tannins[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The heartwood is reddish-brown; the sapwood yellowish[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The wood is fairly dense, hard, durable and difficult to work[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
414
Title
Forest, Farm, and Community Tree Network
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.winrock.org/fnrm/factnet/factnet.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of in-depth factsheets on a wide range of plants, especially leguminous trees.
,
549
Title
Flore Forestiere Du Globe
Publication
 
Author
Chnacerel L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Gauthier-Villars et Co.; Paris.
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
Written in French, a very detailed work on the timbers of the world. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. The wood is of high value within its natibve range, where it is used for a wide range of purposes including construction, parquet floors, doors and furniture[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
,
414
Title
Forest, Farm, and Community Tree Network
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.winrock.org/fnrm/factnet/factnet.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of in-depth factsheets on a wide range of plants, especially leguminous trees.
,
491
Title
Journal of the Arnold Arboretum Vol. 57
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University
Year
1976
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical magazine, this issue has a comprehensive treatment of the genus Prosopis as well as several other articles. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
1566
Title
Plantae Diaphoricae Florae Argentinae ó Revista Sistematica de las Plantas medicinales, alimenticias ó de alguna otr
Publication
 
Author
Hieronymus J.
Publisher
Guillermo Kraft; Buenos Aires
Year
1882
ISBN
 
Description
A very old work, but lots of information on the uses of Argentinian plants. It can be downloaded from the internet.
].
The wood is excellent for both firewood and charcoal[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
,
414
Title
Forest, Farm, and Community Tree Network
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.winrock.org/fnrm/factnet/factnet.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of in-depth factsheets on a wide range of plants, especially leguminous trees.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
,
1566
Title
Plantae Diaphoricae Florae Argentinae ó Revista Sistematica de las Plantas medicinales, alimenticias ó de alguna otr
Publication
 
Author
Hieronymus J.
Publisher
Guillermo Kraft; Buenos Aires
Year
1882
ISBN
 
Description
A very old work, but lots of information on the uses of Argentinian plants. It can be downloaded from the internet.
].

Propagation

Seed - it remains viable for several years in normal storage[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
]. The seeds are hardcoated and must be scarified in order to germinate. Burning, nicking and immersion in boiling water are some of the methods that can be used. If the seeds are not extracted from the pods before sowing, they will normally require several minutes of boiling to overcome dormancy. Normally the seeds are sown directly in containers. Germination starts after 2 weeks and continues for up
to one month. When the plants are 30 - 35cm tall they are ready for planting in the field[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
].
Direct seeding is also possible[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-10-13. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Prosopis+alba>

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