Honey Mesquite

To the best of my knowledge, there are no special restrictions placed on Honey Mesquite by the United States government.

In some areas of the Southwestern and Midwestern United States, Honey Mesquite is considered invasive and removing or controlling it is appreciated.  Honey Mesquite has moved considerably outside its native range through the movement of both people and cattle, or other livestock, that carry both externally and in some cases internally, seeds that have had great reproductive success in new areas.

I realize that inherent in working with wood is the killing of a part of the natural world that may be slow to return and if I become deeply concerned about this fact, I will have to find a new hobby.  I hope that such a time does not come to pass or at least not any time soon.  In part because I am concerned about legally and responsibly obtained wood, I am reluctant to buy from sellers outside of well-established and known vendors.  I am highly unlikely, for example, to purchase any wood from auction sites, such as Ebay, because of uncertain sourcing and documentation, as well as the potential, even likelihood, of material being misidentified in order to achieve a higher selling price.

However, due to the commercial scarcity of some woods, resorting to auction sites such as Ebay or Etsy may be the only way to obtain some desirable domestic, or in some cases exotic imported, species that are not routinely commercially harvested.  The potential risks of buying in these marketplaces have to be balanced against the desire to work with a specific species of wood.  That is inherently an individual decision.

I also realize that many, if not most, wood workers do not have endangered species lists memorized, therefore I think it worthwhile and important to do even a small amount of research before purchasing any lumber, domestic as well as imported, to be certain of the potential impact you are having, even in a small way, on threatened or endangered populations.  This information is easy to come by and takes only minutes to locate through any Internet search engine, including those you can access on your phone as you are standing in the lumber yard or store.  Unfortunately, you simply cannot count on a vendor to tell you a product they are selling is endangered.

Health Hazards:

It is important to note that aside from the usual hazards posed by wood dust, woods in the Prosopis genus, such as Honey Mesquite, have been reported to cause skin irritation. As always, caution is essential until you are certain you are not sensitive to Honey Mesquite.

Also, Honey Mesquite has prodigious thorns that can easily puncture tires and footwear.  If you are attempting to harvest Honey Mesquite, be extremely cautious.

It is important to remember that although many people may, or may not, be sensitive to any given wood, the only experience that truly counts is your own, so use reported side effects as guidance but not as a substitute for cautious and safe practices.

Appropriate protective equipment is therefore always recommended when working with this, or any other, wood, exotic or domestic, unless you have worked with the species before and are certain you are not sensitive to it.

Complete information about health hazards associated with a wide variety of exotic hardwoods is available from The Wood Database.  Additional information about how to best use a dust collection system and personal protective equipment, such as respirators, can also be found through this excellent and comprehensive resource.

Fortunately, I experienced no negative side effects when working with Honey Mesquite.

My Personal Experiences:

This was my first time working with a Mesquite wood.  When I bought it, it was simply labelled “Mesquite” with no further identification.  I have chosen to call it Honey Mesquite but it could in fact be one of several other Prosopis species as mentioned in the previous article.