Sunday, September 6, 2009

Honey Locust

Gleditsia triacanthos is one of 15,000 species in the pea family (Leguminosae). This family, also called the legume family, is characterized by pod-like fruits. Honey locust seed pods can be up to 18 inches long. The tree's common name refers not to the sap, but to the sweet pulp of the seed pod, which Native Americans used in food, drink, and medicine.

The leaves are pinnately or bipinnately compound.

The bark is vertically fissured...

and has clusters of branched spines, so it's not the best climbing tree. Early settlers used these thorns as sewing needles and nails.

In spring, the honey locust is covered with strongly scented white flowers.

Some light can come through the canopy, so there's more grass around the trunk than you find with trees that create unadulterated shade, such as beeches.

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