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 (🇺🇸 USA-48), ▭ 🌎︎ map (North America, Central America),  Adobe Acrobat Reader file ▭ 🌎︎ today + with climate change (eastern 🇺🇸 USA).   Invasive > 🌐︎ various

Uses by native peoples
(Ethnobotany database)

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

Most legumes (but not this species) cooperate with a bacterium that fixes atmospheric nitrogen into a form usable by plants and animals.

In the wild, this tree's branches and trunk have large smooth | thorns.   For home use, nurseries sell thorn-free cultivars.

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

🔍︎ 🔍︎ images Discover Life Encyclopedia of Life Michigan Flora MSUE tip sheet Minnesota Wildflowers Missouri Botanical Garden Flora of North America NRCS PLANTS db Silvics USFS Wikipedia