Lightly fragranced with a memory of orange honey, their flower clusters resemble silken bunches of grapes as they droop downwards contrasting against early May’s cobalt sky. A honey trap central, stand underneath and listen to the buzzing roar of happy bees; the flowers theoretically act as a diuretic which leaves one with all sorts of strange thoughts, but their textural beauty is one very good reason for a late Spring-time road trip.
Apparently the Locust Tree (R. Pseudoacacia) was brought to Europe early in the C17th from Northern America, where its roots were used by Cherokee Indians to dull toothache – I need to remember this one! Renamed by Jesuit Missionaries who believed it was the tree that supported the New Testament’s tales of John the Baptist in the desert, this is sadly unlikely as its pods are toxic like laburnum which it so resembles. A hardwood that makes great kindling, you won’t see many windfall branches, the roadsides are carefully harvested for firewood in Spring for any of its lithe branches snapped off by the winter winds.