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Honey Locust: A Sweet Suprise Amongst Oakland’s Many Trees

Honey Locust: A Sweet Suprise amongst Oakland’s Many Trees

Oakland Cemetery’s glorious tree canopy is made up of a surprisingly wide range of tree types. Some are native, and some are from faraway lands. Some are common, and some are rare. A fun example of a native uncommon tree growing at Oakland is the honey locust, gleditsia triacanthis. Up north this tree is practically overplanted in landscapes, but it’s fairly rare in the hot, humid south.

Oakland’s thriving specimen is the variety ‘Skyline’, which has fewer thorns than usual for the species and is quite handsome. The leaves of this honey locust are very small and cast a light shade, so grass could easily be grown under it. Fall foliage is a lovely gold.

In fact, long ago, confectioner’s shops sold these pods from their glass display cases as a sweet treat.

The honey locust got its common name from the long (up to 18”!), twisty, leathery seed pods which are lined with a sweet gummy substance. In fact, long ago, confectioner’s shops sold these pods from their glass display cases as a sweet treat. Even longer ago, Native Americans relished these pods. Today adventurous homebrewers create honey locust beer!

To learn more about Historic Oakland Foundation’s efforts to preserve the Cemetery’s tree canopy, click here.

Caroline Riggins

Gardens volunteer

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