Kentucky Coffeetrees in Michigan

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DougBidlack
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Re: Kentucky Coffeetrees in Michigan

Post by DougBidlack » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:26 pm

Elijah,

thanks for bringing up that article as I hadn't seen it yet. Really amazing that most of the eastern populations are very small isn't it? I remember visiting several eastern Iowa river floodplain areas while looking for swamp white oak acorns and I was amazed at how common honeylocusts were at several of those sites. In some cases they were a major component of the floodplain forests. A sorta close cousin to Kentucky Coffeetree and also seemingly especially common towards the western end of the range.

Doug

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ElijahW
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Re: Kentucky Coffeetrees in Michigan

Post by ElijahW » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:01 pm

Doug,

I've never been in a natural stand of Honeylocust. I assumed they colonized floodplain forests in the Midwest, but had no idea how common they were. With Coffeetrees, it seems to me that large-scale flooding plays a role in their seed dispersing, even though, according to the literature, the seeds are too heavy to be transported via water. Another alternative, seed dispersal via Native cultures, also seems very reasonable. Villages historically were situated along or short distances from major bodies of water, in the same places where small colonies of Coffeetrees are found today. That the trees have not naturally spread is very interesting. It must have to do with the toughness and immobility of the seed itself.

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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Rand
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Re: Kentucky Coffeetrees in Michigan

Post by Rand » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:23 pm

In central and NW Ohio, honeylocust are very common along waterways. I think the seed pods float because they show up growing on drainage ditches, and then they get sprayed back by the maintenance crews. I assume the seed pods float downstream along with the rest of the flotsam during high water events. Conversely, they are quite rare otherwise.

I do wonder how much livestock grazing contributed to their numbers. It certainly contributes to numbers of hawthorns.

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