Honey Locust Tree Facts:
The Honey Locust Tree (Lobaria mellea) is one of the most common trees found in many parts of the world. They are native to tropical regions like South America, Africa, Asia and Australia.
The name “honey locust” comes from their habit of gathering nectar from flowers called honeydew.
They grow up to 10 feet tall and have very short branches. Their leaves are small with four leaflets.
The honey locust tree is commonly known as the Asian Honeylocust or African Honeylocust Tree because they tend to grow in those areas. There are several species of honey locust trees, but all of them belong to the genus Lobelia. They have been cultivated for centuries for their edible fruit which is used in desserts, drinks and medicines.
There are two kinds of honey locust trees. One kind grows only in Asia and the other type grows in Africa.
Both types produce different varieties of fruit. The Asian variety produces a yellowish-green berry while the African variety produces a dark red berry. Both types of honey locust fruit can be eaten in various ways.
Honey locust trees with thorns are short and have branches that are covered in thorns.
They also have leaves with thorns coming out of them.
The bark on the tree is red and peels off to reveal a yellowish-white inner layer.
These trees tend to grow in swampy areas and only grow to about 10 feet tall.
They produce a light green to yellow-green flowers that can range in size from half an inch to 2 inches. The honey locust tree flowers can have many petals that range in color from white to yellow.
These trees bloom through out the year unless there is a drought which tends to inhibit their flowering process. When these trees are blooming, they produce edible fruits that are usually yellowish-green in color and have a sweet taste. The honey locust tree has fleshy fruits that range in size from 1 inch to 3 inches. The inside of the fruit contains a jelly like substance that can be eaten raw or can be made into jams, desserts and drinks.
The bark on the honey locust tree is thick and red with long vertical grooves running throughout it. These trees only grow up to 10 feet in height and usually have several short branches with thorns coming out of them.
The thorns on the branches tend to point outwards from the tree’s body. The leaves on the tree are large with between 3 and 5 lobes. Each of these lobes have thorns coming out of them. The underside of each leaf is covered in thorns, while the top is green and veined. The bark on mature trees tends to be darker than on younger trees.
The honey locust tree is an edible and medicinal plant. It’s bark, roots, leaves, flowers and fruits all have beneficial properties.
People have been using this tree for centuries to cure various ailments and to improve their general health. The following are some benefits of the honey locust tree:
* The leaves of the honey locust tree contain antioxidants and ascorbic acid. These promote good vision and prevent macular degeneration and other vision problems.
The antioxidants also prevent the buildup of cholesterol on the walls of arteries and prevent heart attacks.
* The bark of the honey locust tree contains triterpene acids that have been proven to prevent cancer in laboratory tests. These acids stop the growth of cancer cells and also kill them.
* The roots of the honey locust contains alkaloids, flavonoids and saponins that work as a powerful antioxidant. These prevent the build up of cholesterol on artery walls and improve blood flow.
* The flowers of the honey locust contain nectar that is high in sugar. Bees love to make honey from this nectar.
* The fruits of the honey locust tree have a sweet taste and can be eaten raw or can be used to make jam, jellies, wines and juice.
* The honey locust tree also has other industrial uses. The wood can be used to make furniture and floors while the thorns can be used to make nails and toothpicks.
* The flowers of the tree yield a dye that can be used to color cloth.
Honey locust tree leaves have also been found in ancient Egyptian tombs.
Sources & references used in this article:
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Culture and use of black locust by T DeGomez, MR Wagner – HortTechnology, 2001 – journals.ashs.org
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Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) beloved and despised: A story of an invasive tree in Central Europe by M Vítková, J Müllerová, J Sádlo, J Pergl… – Forest Ecology and …, 2017 – Elsevier
Characterization of overwintering sites of the invasive brown marmorated stink bug in natural landscapes using human surveyors and detector canines by DH Lee, JP Cullum, JL Anderson, JL Daugherty… – PLoS …, 2014 – journals.plos.org
Introduction of giraffe changes acacia distribution in a South African savanna by WJ Bond, D Loffell – African Journal of Ecology, 2001 – Wiley Online Library