Also in an airy Grove near the edge of Plantation Wood, we happen upon Robinia pseudoacacia, the False Acacia, or ‘Black Locust’ as it is known in its native Missouri, US. They are They are strange, atmospheric sight, pinnate leaves rustling in the light and trunks covered in the tree equivalent of weals.
The False Acacia is a legume, which means it can fix nitrogen in the soil and make it available to other plants (and itself, its not that philanthropic). Which Is handy if your’e a tree and your’e colonising poor soils, like desert sand…
It makes excellent firewood, furniture and is good for carving. The wood is one of the hardest woods in America and is resistant to rot, so it Is used to make small boats. HOWEVER the wood, bark and leaves are toxic to horses and people!
What Is interesting is the mixed messages on the Internet, including several plant databases, which claim this tree has Edible seeds. This is a dubious claim which needs someone (like me) to go and bloody eat some and see if they give me liver failure. As this claim may pertain to the Honey Locust (Gleditsia) and its sweet seed pulp (hence the name).
You can’t really see from the photos, but the false Acacia has modest spines in parallel pairs at the base of its leaves. The honey locust has fiercer spines and pointer leaves.
Apparently in France, Italy and Romania the fragrant flowers of False Acacia are tempura ‘d or made into ‘beignets’. The Romanians boil down the flowers into a scented jam.
It would make sense, then, if the seeds could be eaten as they used to be the flowers. In one extract from PFAF database, the ‘shelled seeds are harvested from summer to fall, both raw and boiled’.
Best wait and see if myself or Phil die first. If not Il let everyone know how tasty they are.