milling mesquiteGabriel Feldman (left) and Asher Gelbart process mesquite flour using a hammer mill. (Photo courtesy of Richard Felger)The Gila Native Plant Society’s meeting on May 17 will feature a presentation by botanist Richard Felger entitled “Mesquite: Tree of Life” inspired by his work with native crops. Richard evokes the significance of mesquite:

“A mesquite seedling sends a deep root down through a ground sloth pie, or maybe it was an elephant and only 13,000 years ago.

It is the end of the 19th century, Apaches have been driven out and nobody knows how good mesquite tastes, or how to prepare it.

It is 2040 and hot and dry and half the world is growing mesquite and big sacaton.

Let’s talk about mesquite past, present, and future.”

Richard offers a brief bio: “I was first a marine biologist and got into cactus, orchids, and lizards after eight years of age. It is always a privilege to study and write about new arid land food crops, botany, and ethnobiology—here in the upper Gila Region, the Sonoran Desert, and deserts worldwide. My wife Silke Schneider and I live in Silver City with many plants and animals.”

The meeting will be held at 7:00 pm on Friday, May 17, 2019, in Harlan Hall, Room 219, on the WNMU campus, corner of 12th and Alabama Streets in Silver City. Gila Native Plant Society meetings are free and open to the public. Refreshments following the program. This will be the last evening meeting until the fall, but the summer program of field trips is underway. For further information visit the programs and field trips pages on our website under

The Gila Native Plant Society is committed to promoting education, research and appreciation of the native flora of the Southwest; encouraging the preservation of rare and endangered plant species; and supporting the use of suitable native plants in landscaping.  For information on programs, publications and membership, please visit