Sunday, July 29, 2012

Looking for the Sweetness in Honey Locust

We were intrigued by the honey locust trees that we saw on our mid-west trip. We were not really familiar with them as they are not native to Florida. They provide good shade.

But they have their drawbacks.

Upon closer look, you can see the thorns.

 The leaves here are  those of the jasmine that was climbing up the tree, enjoying the support of the thorns.

I put  my hand up for scale for these deadly thorns and discovered that there were tiny, green ones coming out of the bark that were still painful.

The thorns come out all around the trunk, all the way up.

It is thought that the thorns once guarded the tree against browsing  by giant tree sloths and other Pleistocene megafauna. In the spring there are fragrant flowers and, despite its name, it is not a honey source. The flowers soon turn into pods. The flesh of these was used by the Indians to make beer; though how they might have collected the pods is a mystery to me unless they waited for them to drop. 

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