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Locusts and Other Pod - Bearers

tree, locust, trees, twigs and leaves

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Among our common trees are a few whose fruit proclaims their family connection with the peas and beans. They are all pod-bearers. Most of these trees carry the resemblance farther, and hear flowers of the sweet pea type.

The common Locust, called also Acacia and Yellow Locust, Robini(t P.scm/(tcwio, is one of the familiar pod-bearing trees. It is a beauti ful tree in its with smooth hark and loose round head: hut many of its charms are lost as it cfrows tin. Nine months of the year the old Locust tree is a bedrag gled-looking object. The bare is covered almost to its tips with coarse ragged hark of a dead gray color. In its form, there is little of symmetry, or grace, or strength. The splitting pods hang on the twigs late into the winter, chattering in the Nvillf'k, and calling attention to the untidy appearance of the tree. The supreme moment in the Locust tree's life comes in when it stands clothed in verdure, against whose feathery masses gleam the white blossom clusters, heavy with perfume and alive with bees.

The leaves of this tree !are light 2111(1 graceful, and are com posed of many oval leaflets. The foliage which appears in late spring is pale green at first with a silvery Clown upon it; hut it soon becomes dark green turd smooth. Thus through the summer the tree shows constantly varying shades of green. All too early in autumn the leaves turn yellow and are gradually shed. In the arils of the leaves io.e borne in spring the thick drooping racemes Of pea-like flowers. These are succeeded by the thin tapering pods.

At the base of the leaf is usually set a guard of two stout points. These are prickles, and nut thorns, for no matter how large and wicked LIy I /MU lleep, an a NN come off with the bark. The twigs are stiff, with ridges running lengthwise, and an angle at each side, caused by the prominent shelf like bracket which supports the leaf. The buds develop under the leaf-stalks, and so deep-set are they that until spring only their brown silky tilts protrude Loin the middle of the three, lobed leaf scar.

The Locust grows quickly. When left to itself it often sends up suckers fun]] root stocks and takes full possession of necdected lnds. It ranges wild from New to _ . _ _ _ _ and . 1 _ _ _ _ _ _ _0 • 1 1 1 1 _Arkansas, alio in spite 01 its MI 1 llanItS been widely planted as au ornamental tree.

It has more than its share of insect enemies. The wood, though valuable, is generally rendered useless by the locust-borer, which riddles even the young shoots. _No practical method of combating this pest has yet been discovered.

The Clammy Locust, L'Hbi (r rscosq, is a little rough-barked tree which grows on sontliern moun tain slopes. It has pink flowers, like the pea in form, and 411 the newest growth, the twigs, buds, and flower stems, are clammy to the touch.

The Bristly Locust, Robioi(r hispid(r, is a shrub much cultivated for its showy pink blossoms. Its twigs and leaf-stalks are covered with line bristles.

The Redbud. or .Judas is (froimIcis, is near of kin to the locusts. It covers its bare twigs thickly with rosy pea-like blossoms in April. The tapering pods are daintier than those of the com mon locust, which they somewhat resemble. The leaves are heart-shaped and simple,—an exception to the rule that generally prevails among the locusts. The name "Judas Tree keeps alive all old tradition that Judas Iscariot hanged himself upon one of these trees.

The Kentucky Coffee Tree, Oymnoc/rOus dioieas, is the coarsest and the burliest of all our pod-bearing trees. It has thick clumsy twigs. and its branches are stout and stiff. The twice-compound leaves are un usually large. The flowers are borne in racemes. the staminate and pistil late ones usually being on different trees. are small, greenish yellow and salver-form. In winter there are no signs of buds on the tree, and the heavy brown pods fairly weigh the branches The Kentucky pioneers used the seeds as a substitute for coffee. The tree is found growing in rich bottom lands New York to Texas. It is by no means com mon within this range.

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