Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.
Search native plant database:
Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Gleditsia triacanthos L.
Honey locust, Common Honey-locust, Honey-locust, Thornless common honey-locust, Honey shucks
Synonym(s): Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis
USDA Symbol: gltr
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
The honey-locust is a 30-75 ft. tree with a comparable spread and a delicate and sophisticated silhouette. Feathery, yellow-green, pinnately compound leaves provide filtered shade. Fall color is yellow. Greenish flowers are not conspicuous, but the twisted seed pods change from red-green to maroon-brown as they mature. Pods 30-45 cm long, curled, persist into winter. Most wild trees are not thornless; the long, needle-sharp thorns are extremely vicious and not suitable for a domestic landscape.
Livestock and wildlife consume the honeylike, sweet pulp of the pods. Honey Locust is easily recognized by the large, branched spines on the trunk; thornless forms, however, are common in cultivation and are sometimes found wild. The spines have been used as pins. This hardy species is popular for shade, hedges, and attracting wildlife.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Breeding System:
, Monoecious Leaf:
Green Autumn Foliage:
Brown Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun
, WY Canada: ON Native Distribution:
to e. SD,
e. to MS
& OH Native Habitat:
Moist woods; bottomlands; stream banks; drier, upland sites
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist Soil pH:
Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2) CaCO3 Tolerance:
Medium Cold Tolerant:
Moist, deep, well-drained soil. Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay Conditions Comments:
Honey locust is fast-growing and long-lived. It suffers from mites, Mimosa webworm invaders, a number of cankers, and other pests. Exhibits salt-, drought-, heat-, high pH-, and salt-tolerance. Its filtered shade makes underplanting easy. This tree
has the ability to spread quickly and can become a weed
problem in some pasture areas. Mowing or cutting increases sprouts.
Attractive, Shade tree Use Wildlife:
Cover, Nesting site, Browse, Fruit-mammals, Nectar-butterflies, Nectar-bees. Use Food:
Southeastern indigenous people dried and ground the pulp from the pods and used it as a sweetener. Warning:
Plant has thorns or prickles. Attracts:
Butterflies Larval Host:
Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus).
PropagationDescription: Scarified seeds will germinate readily. Thornless forms come true about half of the time. Transplanting is easy. Cutting from male-flowered branches grow into trees with pollen flowers only, so they do not produce fruit. (Kershaw)
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Scarify seeds in a concentrated sulfuric acid for 1-2 hours.
Commercially Avail: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Hill Country Natives
- Leander, TX
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Sibley Nature Center
- Midland, TX
Record Last Modified: 2013-04-18
Research By: TWC Staff