Honey locust

Honeylocust in fall


The honeylocust is a fast-growing tree with very fragrant flowers and is unique in the way that thorns adorn large portions of the trunk. The honeylocust provides decent shade as well.

This tree is eligible for a $100 Tree Rebate. If you’d like help with the planting, check out our RiverSmart Homes program.

More detail: Honey locust’s Tree of the Month.

Common Name

Latin Name
Gleditsia triacanthos

Alternate, pinnately compound, with 15 to 30 leaflets that are ovate to elliptical in shape, and green to yellow-green in color

Small, greenish yellow, on 2- to 3-inch-long narrow, hanging clusters, not showy but very fragrant

Flattened, red-brown, leathery pod that becomes dry and twisted; pod contains many shiny dark-brown oval seeds

be either stout or slender, prominantly zig-zag, red-brown to light brown in color

Initially, gray-brown to bronze, and smooth with many horizontal lenticels; later breaking into long, narrow, curling plates; often displaying clusters of large, branched thorns on trunk

Medium-sized tree with a typically short bole and an airy, spreading crown

Can reach heights of 66 to 100 feet

Native Range
Ranging from southeastern South Dakota to New Orleans and central Texas, and as far east as eastern Massachusetts

Medium deciduous tree

Seasonal Colors
Honeylocust leaves turn to a bright yellow in the fall

Commonly found in moist, fertile soils near streams and lakes

Prefers sun, shade intolerant

Similar Species
Waterlocust, mimosa, black locust

Pests and Diseases
It is resistant to Gypsy moths but is defoliated by another pest, the mimosa webworm. Spider mites, cankers, and galls are also problems. Honeylocust is subject to few diseases but the canker Thyronectria austro-americana can be fatal if not treated properly.

Rebate Eligibility

Of Note
The name derives from the sweet taste of the legume pulp, which was used for food by Native American people, and can also be fermented to make beer.

Photo Credits

Kevmin chemazgz the weed one Coanri/Rita Dendroica cerulea Dendroica cerulea (2)