Today we look at the Black Locust, Robinia pseudoacacia.
While in my twenties, I worked as a groundskeeper and remember Frank, a co-worker and local farmer, relating that "Locust makes the best fence posts, even better than cedar. The old timers used to say that locust lasts a day longer than stone."
As I poke around through my books and the web, it becomes so easy to branch off down unexpected avenues. These excursions are always fascinating, even if suddenly no longer relevant to today's specimen. Today's research uncovers the Black Locust Initiative, advocating the use of this durable tree as a replacement for the toxic preservatives in today's pressure-treated wood. Frank would approve.
Here are a couple of seed pods I discovered during a lake walk in the fall. At the time, I didn't know their owner but saved them for their beauty. The intact pod is about 3.5" long.