Saturday, May 20, 2017

Admiring Trees

This week has been peak bloom for mid-Ohio's native Black Locust trees.  Their Latin name  Robinia pseudoacacia is a reflection of its Acacia-like flowers. You need to look no further than Ohio's highways and byways to find their white blossoms standing out like a beacon. The extra inches of rain we had this winter/spring must have super-sized their fragrant flowers. 

Two landscape specimens near Chesterville, Ohio.
 Any landscaper or nurseryman would be likely to snuff and dismiss this native tree with a "too weedy, too thorny." However, I am noticing the spectacular beauty of specimen trees from long-ago landscapes.  I never realized Black Locust could become such a sizable tree.  Each of these two are about five feet in circumference, and the older trunks are thornless.

The Acacia like flowers of Black Locust.
These flowers are the real selling point.  Giant pea-like blossoms waft an incredible fragrance across the country-side.  Bee keepers know that Black Locust is favorite for their striped wards. I've been told the honey tastes like cotton candy.

In honor of pollinators, let's all plant a few of these bee trees.

This unexpected behemoth resides in Ontario, Ohio.
It did my heart good to find this venerable old locust on the edge of a landscaper's parking lot of a in Ontario, Ohio.  One can only hope the owner appreciates the size and age of this over-sized tree and continues to allow it to grace the property. It would take the outstretched arms of at least two adults to encircle this massive tree.

Who is this funny-looking caterpillar?
 Black locust are not just beneficial to bees.  They are also the host plant to the strange stripey caterpillars of the Silver-spotted Skipper.

Silver-spotted Skippers... doing what they do.
 The only Silver-spotted Skipper photo stored in my files was this mating pair.  Funny how we forget to photo document the most common butterflies and birds we see. This should be a lesson to us. Five  years ago when the Monarch butterflies were in the worst year of their decline, we all wished we had taken more photos of them when they were considered commonplace.

If you want to know what a person treasures, look at their photographs.  As for me, I am taking more photos of Black Locusts, bees and butterflies.