Also called thorny locust.

Part of legume / pea  family Fabaceae in order Fabales.

Native to the 🇺🇸 USA Mississippi River and Ohio River basins, and surrounding areas east of the 🗻︎ Rocky Mountains.   🌎︎ Map by county 🌎︎ map.  Adobe Acrobat Reader file   Invasive > 🌐︎ various

Uses by native peoples
(Ethnobotany database)

Gleditsia hosts caterpillars of 43 species
of butterflies and moths, in some areas.

In the wild, this tree's branches and trunk have large smooth thorns.

Often grows in clonal colonies [1] —look around for other stems!

Planting info (SW Michigan).  Adobe Acrobat Reader file

Honey locust have large tough seedpods, which contain sweet pulp and large seeds, with a thick waterproof coating that needs to be cut or abraded before 🌱︎ germination.  This seed protection probably evolved with and to be spread by 🐘︎ mammoth  genus Mammuthus or 🐫︎ camel  family Camelidae.   After the Holocene extinction removed large herbivorous megafauna, poor seed-dispersal caused the plant's range to decline to the central 🇺🇸 USA.

Lately, 🐮︎ cattle  genus Bos may have taken the role as seed disperser. [2]


[1]  "Clonal colony."  Wikipedia.   Accessed .

[2]  "The Trees That Miss The Mammoths."  American Forests.  .   Accessed .

Learn more about honey locust Gleditsia triacanthos

Discover Life Encyclopedia of Life Google Google images Michigan Flora MSUE tip sheet Minnesota Wildflowers Missouri Botanical Garden USDA PLANTS db USFS Wikipedia