Apr. 10, 2017

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There is a thornless variety of honey locust.  This variety, and its cultivated versions, have become very popular in cultivation.  One nursury describes the variety "Shademaster" as the perfect tree.  These trees in general are very tolerant of dry conditions and poor soils.  In nature (or otherwise) they are one of the early arrivals in areas where trees have been removed and soil depleted (like housing projects).   The beans are a favorite of wildlife, and the pulp can be used as a sweetener.

I once found a very large thornless locust near here.  It turned out to be the largest one known in Michigan.  A few years later it was gone.  Not even branches left.  I suspect it was sold for lumber.  It has a strong wood that finishes well.  There are those who prize locust wood furniture.  In the past the durable wood was used for outside projects like fence posts and shipbuilding.  It was a common source for treenails; pegs used in place of nails.  Even the thorns were sometimes used in that way.