Twisted Trees – The Desert Mesquite

Twisted Tree Grove

Tree Grove ©2012 Bo Mackison

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.  Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see Nature at all.  But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself.” ~ William Blake, 1799

Mesquite trees are an Arizona symbol – tough, adapted to desert living with a root system that grows deep into the earth. A tap-root can extend as far as 150 feet into the ground in search of moisture.

They bring flowers to the desert, first in spring and then again after the monsoons, and provide nectar for bees which then produce a sweet mesquite honey. The seeds are ground into flour in many desert cultures, a practice that has lasted for centuries, and continues to this day.

The mesquite improves the soil in which it grows, as it is a nitrogen stabilizer. A natural fertilizer.

The grove of trees in the above photograph grows next to the mission church at Tumacacori National Historic Park.

They may not be tall and stately like the California Redwood, nor provide a spectacular display of autumnal color like the Eastern and Midwest hardwoods, but there is a fascination with the gnarled, sharply angled branches extending from the mesquite’s thick trunk.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.

Leave a Reply