Dangerous Beauty

 

The Honey Locust, or Gelditsia triacanthos, is a remarkable but treacherous tree. Its lower trunk is covered in 3-inch barbs so sharp that in the past they were used by woodsmen as pins, spear points, and animal traps. (More recently, they’ve been known to pierce running shoes and flatten bicycle tires with a budget-busting regularity.) The trees are common along the Monocacy River, and currently they’re festooned in the long, flat, curling seed pods that inspired the “honey” in their name. The pulp of the pod is sweet enough to tempt wildlife like deer, squirrels, and rabbits, and Native Americans, in addition to using the pulp of the Honey Locust as a thickener and sweetener, also roasted its seeds as a source of protein. I, however, prefer to admire the trees from a distance.