The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section IV. Deciduous Ornamental Trees

Three-thorned locust Acacia

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Nat. Ord. (Natural Order) Leguminos�. Lin. Syst. (Linnean System) Polygamia, Di�cia. This tree is often called the Three-thorned locust, from some resemblance to the latter tree. Its delicate, doubly pinnate leaves, however, are much more like those of the Acacias, a family of plants not hardy enough to bear our climate. It is a much finer tree in appearance than the common locust, although the flowers are greenish, and inconspicuous, instead of possessing the beauty and fragrance of the latter. There is, however, a peculiar elegance about its light green and beautiful foliage, which wafts so gracefully in the summer breeze, and folds up on the slightest shower, that it stands far above that tree in our estimation, for the embellishment of scenery. The branches spread out rather horizontally, in a fine, broad, and lofty head; there are none of the dead and unsightly branches so common on the locust; and the light feathery foliage, lit up in the sunshine, has an airy and transparent look, rarely seen in so large a tree, which sometimes produces very happy effects in composition with other trees. The bark is of a pleasing brown, smooth in surface the branches are studded over with curious, long, triply-pointed thorns, which also often jut out in clusters, in every direction from the trunk of the tree, to the length of four or five inches, giving it a most singular and forbidding look. In winter, these and the long seed-pods, five or six inches in length, which hang upon the boughs at that season, give the whole tree a very distinct character. These pods contain a sweetish substance, somewhat resembling honey; whence the tree has in some places obtained the name of Honey locust, which properly belongs to Robinia viscosa.