Mesquite, a member of the pea family, was the primary
food source for the Indians living at Cottonwood. A large
mesquite tree can produce several bushels of bean pods
every year. The beans were sometimes eaten raw right
from the tree, but mor often were dried and then ground
up. After grinding the flour was either eaten directly or
mixed with a little water and formed into cakes. The
Cahuillas often put extra mesquite flour in ollas and hid
them in boulder piles some distance from their camps.
The food caches would be used as emergency supplies
if the camp was raided.
Branches from the tree were used for bows, throwing
sticks and support beams for their dwellings.