Chinaberry Trees, Hedgerows and a Spreading Adder
By Brenda S. Brown

 

Perhaps the most useless living thing in this world is a chinaberry tree; at least that is what Granddaddy Scott proclaimed loudly late one autumn afternoon after walking the perimeter of his farm in Terrell County.  Once a root is established, the trees multiply relentlessly; it is nearly impossible to destroy. 
 
According to Invasive.org , "any species, including its seeds, eggs, spores, or other biological material capable of propagating that species, that is not native to that ecosystem; and whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health" should be considered invasive.
 
Although the purple flowers are fragrant, the marble-sized fruit that the tree produces is a nuisance; in fact all parts of the tree, to include the seeds are poisonous to humans and most birds.  Here is an interesting fact, before the invention of plastic; the seeds were used to make objects such as rosary beads.
 
On a thick hedgerow, up the gravel-road, toward Dick and Elbert Johnson's place, under a spread of chinaberry trees, is where granddaddy once encountered a gigantic spreading adder.  The proper name of the snake was something as a child I couldn't articulate because I never understood the correct spelling or pronunciation. 
 
Days after the unfortunate encounter, we were not sure whether his persistent hacking at the ground with a three-prong hoe, chopping with a hatchet, and excavating with a shovel was a result of despising the chinaberry trees that had formed a thick hedgerow, or it was an effort to locate and eradicate that despicable intruding cold-blooded reptile from the Scott farm property.

 

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