Gleditsia triacanthos L.



All photographs are copyrighted and are the property of E. Brunner.

Family:  Fabaceae

Native or Introduced to Illinois:  native

Natural Habit in Illinois:  river floodplains; upland forests

Leaf:  The single or doubly compound leaves have small leaflets 1 to 1-1/2 inches long with rounded tips. They are dark green above and lighter or yellow-green beneath with margins very slightly toothed.

Flower:  White-green, displayed on 2 inch long racemes, not showy, but very fragrant. Present May to June.

Fruit:  A very distinctive, 6 to 8 inches long, flattened, red-brown pod that becomes dry and twisted. Contains many oval, dark brown seeds, 1/3 inch long. Maturing September to October.  The green seed pods contain a honeylike fluid from which the tree gets its name.

Twig:   May be either stout or slender, prominently zigzag, red-brown to brown in color with branched thorns. Lateral buds are very small and sunken.

Bark:  Gray-brown to bronze, later breaking into long, narrow, scaly ridges. Often displaying clusters of large, branched thorns.

Size/Form/Shape:   A medium-size tree with a short bole and an airy, spreading crown.

County Distribution Map for Illinois:  


Sources for the Sullivan Middle School Tree Identification Guide were obtained though the use of the following sites:

The information below is from the National Arbor Day Foundation.  This information can be viewed in the original (source) form by visiting The National Arbor Day Foundation at http://www.arborday.org.

(The information below is for the Thornless Honeylocust - Gleditsia triacanthos inermis)
Sun Exposure:  This honeylocust prefers full sun
Soil Type:  The Thornless Honeylocust grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, rich, sandy, wet, wide range, moist bottomlands, soils of limestone origin; salt and drought tolerant.
Moisture:  The tree has moderate flooding and drought tolerance.
Growth Rate:  This tree grows at a fast growth rate.

Hardiness Zones:  3 - 9
This honeylocust can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the arborday.org zone map.