Also called thorny locust.  Part of locust  genus Gleditsia and legume / pea  family Fabaceae.

Native to the 🇺🇸 USA lower Mississippi River basin, and surrounding areas.

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.

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 or camel.  After the Holocene extinction removed large herbivorous megafauna, poor seed-dispersal caused the plant's range to decline to the central 🇺🇸 USA.  Lately, cattle may have taken the role as seed disperser.[1]


[1]  "The Trees That Miss The Mammoths."  American Forests.  Winter 2010.  Accessed 2016-12-06.

Learn more about honey locust Gleditsia triacanthos

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