May 06 2010

Smells So Sweet

Published by at 7:33 am under Phenology,Trees

Black Locust tree in bloom (photo by Kate St. John)
The air in my neighborhood smells so sweet!  The black locust trees are in bloom.

Black locusts dominate my neighborhood because they’re one of the first trees to grow in poor, disturbed soil.  They are ugly in winter with gnarly bark and twisted branches.  Not for us the beauty of oaks and maples.

But when the locusts bloom they’re gorgeous.  Their flowers hang like bunches of grapes, showing off their membership in the pea family.  The flowers even smell like grapes in order to attract bees.

Black locust blossoms normally reach their peak on May 12 but this year they’re early in our unusual, early spring.

Time to smell the flowers!  They last only 10 days.

p.s. Did you know that rose-breated grosbeaks eat these flowers?  They use their large beaks to grab the base of a flower and twirl.  The white petals fall off.  They swallow the nectar end.

(photo by Kate St. John)

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Smells So Sweet”

  1. Jennieon 13 May 2010 at 10:58 pm

    I never noticed these trees until reading about them here. Now I find myself spotting them everywhere. Thanks again, Kate, for encouraging us to look around at what’s in our own backyards.

  2. Chrison 20 Jul 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Thanks my yard has many of these trees, and I keep telling my husband how nice they smell. He just sneezes and runs for the house… The are almost as good as the Toby tree smell.
    Thanks for posting some good info, I enjoy the pics.

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