|Caspian Locust Tree - Gleditsia caspica|
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Native to Asia, temperate: Western Asia, Iran, Caucasus: Azerbaijan, Caspian Sea region
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Summer: The pinnately compound leaves (one large stem with many small leaflets) allow filtered sunlight, making an attractive canopy that is practical for growing grass or other plants below.
Fall: Color in the fall is variable but is usually a shade of yellow and can be very nice. The large seedpods ripen and become a maintenance consideration for most of the fall and winter months. Wildlife cherishes the sweet pods from which the tree gets its name. The thorny specimen (Gleditsia triacanthos) from which this variety arose is one of the thorniest trees found. Thorns can protrude directly from the trunk and be a foot or more in length. Crews have been busy two decades at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign taking down diseased honey locust trees that were once planted to replace the declining American elms.
Healthy, attractive trees add interest, pleasure, and value to landscapes. Some factors to keep in mind as you select a tree relate to your projected planting site and some factors relate to you. Healthy plants, growing under conditions that suit them, are marvelously engineered to deal with minor incidence of heat, cold, drought, storm damage, pests, and disease. Sometimes we unknowingly stress them, reducing their ability to stay healthy.
Trees provide cover: Birds and small animals need concealed places for nesting and hiding from predators. The presence of wildlife can make your backyard or woodlot a special place for your family and children. As urban sprawl displaces many birds and animals from their natural habitat, it becomes even more important for home and landowners to provide green space and mini-sanctuaries for birds and other wildlife.
And, most important in this age of man-made global warming, trees sequester large amounts of carbon dioxide.
The Fabaceae, or legumes, are mostly herbs but include also shrubs and trees found in both temperate and tropical areas. They comprise one of the largest families of flowering plants, numbering some 400 genera and 10,000 species. Peanuts, beans, peas, wisteria and locust trees are among the family.
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