Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sheddings of Honey Locust

 If the sidewalk is newly littered with brown, darkened by the recent rains,
and upon closer inspection the brown turns out to consist of thousands of tiny spent flowers,
and you look up to see fairly smooth, plated bark and a compound leaf like this,

then chances are good you're walking beneath a honey locust or two. Gleditsia triancanthus, as it is affectionately known among those with an inexplicable memory for latin, can be found occasionally in the wild, where it is typically armored with big thorns to ward off the now non-existent North American mega-fauna. The thorns can supposedly be used for nails.

A thornless variety is common along streets, such as at the township hall parking lot. In fall, the small leaflets drop onto the lawn, nestle between the grass blades and disappear without need of any raking.

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