Honey-locust

Silhouette - honey-locust
  • Latin name: Gleditsia triacanthos L.
  • French name: Févier épineux
  • Synonym(s): Thorny-locust
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 26714
  • NA3 , C4
Description

Leaves

  • Doubly compound neoformed leaf - honey-locust
  • Singly compound preformed leaf - honey-locust

Form

  • Deciduous, alternate
  • Singly or doubly pinnately compound
  • Singly compound preformed in buds, bearing 14–30 leaflets (no terminal leaflet)
  • Doubly compound neoformed during the growing season, bearing 4–7 pairs of branches each resembling a singly compound leaf
  • Leaflets have a rounded tip, often with a small point

Length

  • Leaf and central stalk 25–40 mm

Width

  • Leaflets widest near the base

Colour

  • Cultivars with yellow leaves common

Autumn colour

  • Yellow

Margin

  • Sometimes minutely toothed

Buds

  • Lateral bud and leaf scar - honey-locust

Form

  • No terminal bud
  • Twig ends in a withered stub
  • Lateral buds small
  • In vertical rows, mostly hidden beneath the bark
  • Leaf scars U-shaped with 3 vein scars

Twigs

  • Winter twig and detail of 3-branched thorn - honey-locust

Form

  • Long shoots zigzag
  • Short shoots scarcely project beyond the bark
  • Bearing leaves and flowers
  • Thorns smooth, sharp
  • 3-branched
  • Occurring on the trunk and stems
  • Cultivars used in landscaping thornless

Colour

  • Long shoots brownish
  • Thorns reddish

Flowers

Form

  • Regular, small
  • Pollen flowers in long, many-flowered clusters (racemes)
  • Seed flowers in few-flowered clusters
  • Insect-pollinated

Length

  • Pollen flower clusters 5–7 cm
  • Seed flower clusters 7–9 cm

Width

  • About 5 mm

Colour

  • Greenish-white

Structure

  • Polygamo-dioecious

Floral timing

  • In spring, with the leaves

Fruits

  • Fruit pod - honey-locust

Form

  • Flat, curved, twisted
  • Husk leathery
  • Fall in winter without opening

Length

  • 15–40 cm

Colour

  • Brownish

Structure

  • Legume

Seeds

  • Seed - honey-locust
  • Bean-like
  • Seed coat hard, impermeable

Seedlings

  • Cotyledons fleshy
  • Released from the seed coat during germination

Colour

  • Turn green during germination

Bark

Form

  • Smooth, with horizontal lenticels
  • With age becoming deeply furrowed with scaly ridges

Colour

  • Brownish

Wood

Texture

  • Heavy, hard, strong
  • Decay-resistant

Colour

  • Reddish-brown

Morphology

  • Ring-porous

Figure

  • Rays conspicuous

Size

Height

  • To 30 m

Diameter

  • To 90 cm

Maximum age

  • 120 years

Tree form

  • Silhouette - honey-locust

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Typically short
  • Often bearing long branched thorns

Crown

  • Broad, open, flat-topped

Root system

  • Deep, wide-spreading
  • One of the few tree species that has root hairs

Habitat

Site

  • Moist, rich bottomlands
  • Tolerates droughty and alkaline soils

Light tolerance

  • Intolerant of shade

Associated species

  • As scattered individuals mixed with other broadleaf trees

Range

Rare in Canada; southwestern Ontario
Planted beyond its range
Common as urban tree

Photos
  • Honey-locust
  • Honey-locust
  • Honey-locust
  • Honey-locust
  • Honey-locust
  • Honey-locust
  • Honey-locust
Distribution map
Distribution map - honey-locust
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