Monday, May 14, 2018

A Pea Tree

I took a walk along the primary street of my neighborhood a few days ago because the weather was that perfect spring that lasts only a short time.  We have been getting warmer and hotter days sooner with Climate Change.  

I could smell something really lovely and knew it was too early for the honeysuckle to be calling the pollinators.  As I looked to the side I saw the legume shaped blossoms of the Locust tree.  This is the honey locust which is a native to our area.  

While these trees can grow up to fifty feet, the self-seeded ones in our neighborhood are young with branches low enough for me to get close to the blossoms.

It is related to the pea family which can be noticed if you study the blossoms and the leaf shape.  I did not see any pollinators which did make me concerned.  This tree should be full of bees.  It does self-spread and can be too invasive, but only likes full sun, so stays at the edge of our woods and makes it easy for me to study without collecting ticks.

The deer and other mammals eat the seed pods, supposedly sweet, that fall to the ground and also help to spread the tree.  The honey locust seems to be growing across the United States.

The bark is hard and has been used for fence posts.  The tree at the side of my house which has grown so tall has had severe damage to the outside of the trunk decades ago and it still soldiers on growing tall.  

You can see that the canopy is thin and therefore it allows sunlight to the area below which is nice.

There are various varieties, ours does not fix nitrogen like many legumes, but seems to take care of itself.  Some locust trees do have nasty thorns.

Now I am going to smell some more and wait for the pollinators.

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