Saturday, January 31, 2009

I spy a honey locust!

Just a few days ago we discovered a honey locust (Gleditsia triancanthos) on the property. Initially we thought it was a catalpa tree (that's 'catawba' tree in the south) because that's what our neighbors thought it was, but with a little bit more research, the unmistakable pods it produces helped us peg it as a honey locust.  As you can see with the second photo, the animals love the tree.  They must circumambulate it late night as there is a circular path around the tree.  The pods have a sticky substance that is edible and there are many half chewed up pods scattered all around the tree.  Quail, deer, rabbits, cows, horses, sheep, etc. will all eat the pods.  The seed also used to be eaten in the Deep south and a bread was made by grounding up the entire pod---one third locust flour, two thirds cornmeal.  The tree also has a strange method of self-preservation---it produces some vicious looking thorns around it's trunk.  All in all, a fascinating tree and one we look forward to watching as it moves through the seasons.  

2 comments:

Randy The Liberal Handyman said...

Alice and Stuart,

Does the Locust appear to be native or planted?

Usually Honey Locust is found in the NC mountains and further north. Out in NCSU State Forest there is a small grove of them and we have found rare to our area Dreamy Duskywings a small mountain butterfly in early spring. See my page on them, funny I did not add that Honey Locust is a known host plant.

Randy The Liberal Handyman said...

forgot the link to the Dreamy Duskywing
http://www.rlephoto.com/skippers%20SW%201/duskywing_dreamy01.htm