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GLEDITSIA triacanthos

Image of Gleditsia triacanthos

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Fabaceae

Botanical Name

GLEDITSIA triacanthos

Plant Common Name

Honeylocust

General Description

Distinguished by its fine-textured summer leaves and its informal spreading habit, this popular medium to large deciduous tree is native to the central and eastern United States and extreme southern Ontario. Most cultivated honeylocusts are sterile, non-fruiting selections of the thornless variety Gleditisia triacanthos f. inemris.

The bright green, pinnately compound leaves of this cold-hardy tree cast filtered shade. They flush relatively late in spring and turn dull yellow in autumn. Fallen leaves create relatively little mess. Large branched thorns arise on the branches as well as the trunk, which has gray-brown, shallowly fissured bark. Clusters of inconspicuous greenish flowers appear in spring. Fertile specimens of this tree bear large flat red-brown seedpods, but most cultivated selections are sterile and produce no fruit.

Honeylocust likes sun and is adapted to a wide variety of soil types. Thornless, sterile selections make good shade trees, although their overuse has led to increasing insect and disease problems. Fertile specimens can self-sow, invasively in areas such as eastern Australia.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring

  • Native To

    Northeastern United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, Central United States, South-Central United States, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Yellow Green

  • Fruit Color

    Red, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Light Green, Dark Green, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Yellow

  • Bark Color

    Brown, Sandy Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Fissured

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Street Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes