[NAFEX] Honeylocust

Jwlehman at aol.com Jwlehman at aol.com
Thu Aug 25 10:07:42 EDT 2005

Hello all,

A lively discussion has ensued in the Indiana Nut Growers chat net on 
Honeylocust. I'm forwarding Donna Hudson's (from Cookeville, TN) e/m on the subject. 
Maybe someone on this net knows details on the attempt to hybridize tamarind 
or carob with Honeylocust.    Jerry

Donna wrote:
I note the sudden flurry of interest in this group on this topic.  I too am
interested in honey locust, but I am interested in the fact that a decade or
so back, someone in the US tried to do some crosses to tamarind or carob, I
forget which now.   This story would be worth pursuing, as I think the trees
are fairly closely related.  How much work was put into the attempt?  Were
there any results at all, and if so, what were they?  I guess sterile trees
wouldn't be much good.
    One problem in practical terms of feeding honey locust pods to livestock

is that the seeds tend to go through.  I have read that if the seeds are run
through a hammer mill to break them up, the protein rate is much higher.
But in real life, the practice is usually like that of a couple we know.
Some years they would go rake up pods at the local college, and bring home a
pickup load for their goats.  At first the goats would eat a lot, then
they'd get tired of them.  Also, if they get rained on, they tend to go
moldy, so unless stored under cover or grown in a drier climate than TN,
they are not so practical.  Of course, we know they will grow in quite dry
places, so that\s good.  BUT, then there is the after effect....  zillions
of locust seedlings.  I remember walking around in their pasture seeing
them.  They said that all those little trees were just waiting for them to
move away with their goats so the grazing pressure was off, and they
predicted a whole forest of honey locust.  THORNY honey locust.  Thorny
honey locust, as in your tractor will still be having flats for 3 years
after an encounter, as it can take that long for some of the thorns to
slowly work their way in.
    In practical terms of feeding humans, the pods have a bit of a nasty
whang to them.  I have tasted them and seen kids taste them.  You eat a
little, and then you stop.  They might be ok for making a beer or something.
    Having said all this horrifying stuff, I will add that we have had 2
seedlings come up on our property, in an area with no locusts for miles
around.  Both are thornless, so I assume they came from Hidden Springs in
something or other that I brought home from there.  I might even have
brought the pods home one year and forgotten them.  The trees are nice and
well behaved so far, at about 5 yrs old.  But if one thorny seedling shows
up, that's the end of them!  One bloomed this year but set no pods.  If it
turns out to be a male tree, I suppose it's safe.    Donna

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