Point of Beginning

Black Locust stump

October 6, 2008

Posted By Doug Bruce on 10/4/2008 at 4:21 PM

A few years ago I was retracing a tract on a wooded mountainside in Virginia. At one particular corner, the 1930 description called for a locust tree. At that spot in the woods I found no nearby locust trees, or fences, or any other signs of possession.

However there were two stumps close enough to my search point to be candidates for the original tree. Neither stump had any remaining bark, but each still had some intact wood. I took samples.

Back at home, I took both samples into the darkened bathroom and examined them under ultraviolet light. One sample fluoresced bright yellow, and the other didn't fluoresce at all. (Then the wife wanted to know what I was doing in the bathroom. It was harder to explain than you might think. "Surveying" was not a sufficient response, it turns out.)

Black locust is one of the few full-size trees (about a dozen) in North America that fluoresces under UV light. The wood anatomy was also consistent with black locust.

Run your mouse over the image below to see the fluorescence of that sample:

- Doug