Gleditsia triacanthos

Secondary Names:
honey locust

Leaf Type: Deciduous
Texas Native:
Tree Description:

A large tree with a trunk diameter of 30" and a height of 80 feet or more. The trunk, branches, and twigs have strong, sharp, brown thorns, either straight or branched, which form on the one-year-old wood and remain for many years.

Range/Site Description:

Occurs in East and Central Texas, under a wide variety of soil and moisture conditions. Thornless horticultural varieties are popular for landscape plantings in the drier parts of Texas.


Alternate, with two kinds of leaves: most are once-compound, 5" to 10" long, with 15 to 30 oval leaflets; on vigorous shoots the leaves can be double-compound, consisting of 4 to 7 pairs of pinnae, each 6" to 8" long, and either alternate or opposite on the rachis.


Borne in spring after the leaves in a dense greenish spike, 2" to 5" long, in the leaf axils.


A dark brown pod, 10" to 18" long and 1" to 1.5" wide, flat and often twisted, containing a yellow, sweetish pulp and dark brown seeds.


Dark gray to black, smooth, but developing shallow fissures separating broad plates, sometimes curled at the edges.


Coarse-grained, hard, strong, and moderately durable in contact with the soil, used for tools, lumber, posts, crossties, and fielwood.

Similar Species:

A thornless variety (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inerma) is used widely for landscape plantings; Texas honeylocust (Gleditsia x texana) is a hybrid with waterlocust (G. aquatica) and has smaller pods.

Interesting Facts:

Honeylocust flowers yield a good honey. The Cherokee Indians pounded the ripe seed pods and soaked them in water for a sweet beverage.

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