Unknown no longer.  An email from a reader said, “The bark, bloom, and leaves indicate this to be a type of locust tree. The Black Locust makes excellent fence posts for longevity but are more labor intensive to prepare and install than the readily available treated pine poles that are now being used. The White Locust is a runner up.”

I did a search on images with the new information and learned that it is a black locust tree.  Thanks, again, Howard.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, May 5, 2009

This tree and its interesting blossoms were on the bank of the Little River in Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

I don’t know what kind of three it is, though I’ve searched online on location and description.

May 5, 2009, Tennessee

Gallery – Great Smoky Mountains National Park

(click on image for larger version)

Wikipedia: Great Smoky Mountains

Cove hardwood forests, which are native to Southern Appalachia, are among the most diverse forest types in North America. The cove hardwood forests of the Smokies are mostly second-growth, although some 72,000-acre (290 km2) are still old-growth. The Albright Grove along the Maddron Bald Trail (between Gatlinburg and Cosby) is an accessible old-growth forest with some of the oldest and tallest trees in the entire range.[15]

Over 130 species of trees are found among the canopies of the cove hardwood forests in the Smokies. The dominant species include yellow birch, basswood, buckeye, tuliptree (commonly called “tulip poplar”), silverbell, sugar maple, magnolia, hickory, and hemlock. The American chestnut, which was arguably the most beloved tree of the range’s pre-park inhabitants, was killed off by a blight in the 1920s.

The understories of the cove hardwood forest contain dozens of species of shrubs and vines. Dominant species in the Smokies include the redbud, dogwood, rhododendron, mountain laurel, and hydrangea.

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