[NAFEX] honey locusts

Brungardt, Sam Sam.Brungardt at state.mn.us
Fri Sep 2 11:09:15 EDT 2005


Unfortunately, information on using honeylocust pods as human food
appears to be next to nonexistent.  Traditional medical uses, however,
abound:

Uses of honeylocust and folk medicine:
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Gleditsia_triacanthos.htm
l#Uses

Info on how Native Americans used honeylocust medicinally:
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/sea/Products/AFDbases/af/asp/SpeciesInf
o.asp?SpID=911#Uses's

-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of kieran or donna
Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2005 12:18 PM
To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [NAFEX] honey locusts


Some of you have read most of this on the Indians nut growers group, so
you may hit delete.  For the rest of you, I'd like to pick your brains.
About 12 yrs ago I read that somewhere in the US in last 20 or so years
someone attempted to cross honey locust with either tamarind or carob.
Do any of you recall that, or more to the point, know who or where that
was?
    While I am sure that a theoretical cross to one of these would be an
excellent idea, improving flavor while giving much more hardiness than
the two non-native species have, there are always problems in this kind
of thing.  My interest in hardy citrus shows a good deal of sterility in
citrus crosses, you wouldn't know it, because citrus has a neat trick of
making clones in it's seeds, so it doesn't care all that much that the
cross is making non-viable embryos.  My interest in roses is even more
revealing, lots of roses make really pretty flowers but no hips because
they are simply sterile.  Mules.  If it's the fruit we are after, a mule
won't get it.  But it would be interesting to poke around a bit in the
world of horticulture, which seems to be a bigger money maker than the
world of the mere farmer, and see if there are any crosses in existence
between locusts already. There is the black locust, which is quite
ornamental, and that little pink flowered locust, brought in as a soil
improver, quite pretty, I know where there is a stand of them.  If no
such crosses exist, whether man made or found, the chances of crossing
outside the group is probably diminished.
    Even so, if mule like crosses could be made, there is some slight
chance that the pollen could be taken back to the honey locust and get a
3/4 honey locust with some novel genes in it.  The trouble is that where
the more useful species exist, the low life locust does not, and where
the locust exists, it would require a green house to keep either of the
other two.  As they are trees, this is not exactly as easy as crossing
tomatoes.  I would think it possible that in a town like Atlanta,
someone from India might conceivably have a greenhouse with a bearing
size tamarind.  (Somehow I doubt that they will have an 80 yr old carob
tree in a pot, that' how long they take to crop.)  Or if the pollen will
store, it would probably be pretty easy to get someone to mail some out
of south Florida or CA.  Only those people down there are not likely to
be  NAFEXers, they are more likely to be in some tropical fruit
organization.  Just thinking aloud.  Are honey locusts insect pollinated
or wind pollinated?
    And, going back to my excerpt, I am quite sure that honey locusts
have some useful stuff in them.  Some chemist poking around might find
that you folks afflicted with locusts are sitting on a gold mine.  But
first, I would look around to see if there are some old traditional uses
for the pods. Anyone ever see a beer recipe or other recipe for them?
Any of you actually USE them as food in any shape, form or fashion, even
once in your whole life?  Just curious.  Let's compare to some other
very minor fruits.  Any of you ever chew on hackberry's?  Ever try to do
anything with THEM?  And the acorn business, anyone besides me ever eat
them?  Sigh.  I am on the one hand trying to say if even NAFEXers
haven't used honey locust pods, they must be pretty damned useless.  But
on the other hand, given the ubiquity, the ease of harvest and
preparation of white oak acorns, and their very fine flavor,  it is
plain that usefulness, palatability and availability do not
make a food widely used.  Culture is more important.     Donna

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