Hilaria belangeri is a species of grass known by the common name curly-mesquite, sometimes written curlymesquite or curly mesquite. It is not related to mesquites, which are legumes. This grass is native to Mexico and the southwestern United States from Arizona to Texas.
This perennial grass forms tufts of stems growing up to about 30 centimeters tall. It forms a sod. It spreads via stolons which extend along the ground and root to grow new tufts. The grass has been known to spread four meters in one season. This is the main method of reproduction in the plant because it is often sterile and rarely forms seeds. One of the two varieties, var. longifolia, does not form stolons, however.
This grass grows in a number of southwestern habitat types, such as desert grasslands, woodlands, and shrubsteppe. It is a dominant species on some grasslands. It tolerates a wide variety of soils. It tolerates low levels of precipitation as it typical of deserts, but not necessarily drought, during which it goes dormant.
This is an important forage for animals in some local regions. In central and western Texas it is the main forage for cattle. Cattle find it very palatable. Wild ungulates such as pronghorn and deer graze upon it. The grass is tolerant of grazing pressure, and even overgrazing. In some areas it is productive early in the season, but most of its productivity occurs after summer rainfall.
The growth of this grass is inhibited by the introduced African plant resinbush (Euryops mulitifus).