Gleditsia triacanthos

Common Names: Honey locust, thorny locust
Category: Trees
Sub-category: Locust

It is a deciduous tree native to central North America. It can reach a height of 66 to 100 ft, with fast growth, and are relatively short-lived; their life spans are typically about 120 years. The leaves are pinnately compound on older trees but bipinnately compound on vigorous young trees. The leaflets are 1.5 to 2.5 cm (smaller on bipinnate leaves) and bright green. They turn yellow in the fall. Leafs out relatively late in spring. The strongly scented cream-colored flowers appear in late spring, in clusters emerging from the base of the leaf axils. The fruit of the Honey locust is a flat legume (pod) that matures in early autumn. The pods are generally between 15 to 20 cm. Honey locusts commonly have thorns 3 to 10 cm long growing out of the branches, some reaching lengths over 20 cm; these may be single, or branched into several points, and commonly form dense clusters. The thorns are fairly soft and green when young, harden and turn red as they age, then fade to ash grey and turn brittle when mature. Thornless forms are occasionally found growing wild and are available as nursery plants.

Its cultivars are popular ornamental plants. It tolerates urban conditions, compacted soil, road salt, alkaline soil, heat and drought.

Edible Notes: The pulp on the insides of the Honey Locust pods is edible, unlike the Black locust, which is toxic. Despite its name, the honey locust is not a significant honey plant. The name derives from the sweet taste of the legume pulp, which was used for food by Native American people, and can also be fermented to make beer.
Warnings: The thorns are long and sharp and could easily cause injury. Also, only the pulp of the legume pod is edible, do not eat the seeds or other parts of the tree.