When I went to visit Bob and Christa Stamper’s garden in Zionsville, Pennsylvania, a few weeks ago, Bob pointed out this tree, and I was horrified… Holy cow! He says, “This is the common native honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos, USDA Hardiness Zones 3-7). A long time ago I ordered 10 plants of a thornless variety to create a small, airy grove, but this one has reverted.The conspicuous thorns on the trunk are modified branches. Apparently this is an adaptation against large herbivores in the geologic past. I like the thorns for their prehistoric appearance, but one day Christa, my wife, was weeding on the slope by the tree and lost her balance. She reached out to the tree for support and painfully stabbed herself. Needless to say, she has no great love for this tree. Since then she makes certain she has good footing when working near it and has trimmed off the lower thorns. Pioneers used the very hard thorns as nails, for carding wool, and as pins for closing sacks.” Fascinating! But I won’t be rushing out to buy one, even though the lacy veil it creates when you look up to the sky is beautiful!
Welcome to the Fine Gardening GARDEN PHOTO OF THE DAY blog! Every weekday we post a new photo of a great garden, a spectacular plant, a stunning plant combination, or any number of other subjects. Think of it as your morning jolt of green.
R E A D E R P H O T O S: We love featuring your photos, too. If you think you have a photo that we should share on the Garden Photo of the day, email us. Send hi-res images if possible. We’ll only respond if we plan to use your photo.