Early summer provides a whole host of interesting flowering trees. Just last week the Black Locust, Robinia pseudoacacia was wafting its fragrance all over the Richland County Bike Trail, attracting attention from the walkers and bikers alike. These odiferous bloomers attract insect as well, and birds eat insects. So not only are flowering trees beautiful and “scent”uous, they provide and important role in nature’s plan.
Black locust are also the host plant of the Silver-spotted Skipper, one of the largest and most easily identified of the skipper group. Look for their larva curled up inside a tube they fashion from a black locust leaf. Their little tubular home provides a hiding place from birds, and tastes yummy (to them) as well.
In fact, the scent, beauty and utility of the black locust almost makes you forget about their razor sharp thorns! No matter, it is a staple in my yard as part of my arbor-eatin’ for the local insects and birds.