Carlyle Lake


Honey Locust

Gleditsia triacanthos


Other Name: Thorny Locust

Honey Locust Bark
Honey Locust Bark
Honey Locust Tree
Honey Locust Tree
Honey Locust Leaves
Honey Locust Leaves
Honey Locust Seed Pod on Ground
Honey Locust Seed Pod
Honey Locust Seed Pods on Tree
Honey Locust Seed Pods
Honey Locust Diagram
Honey Locust Diagram

Leaves: Alternate, often doubly pinnately compound with many leaflets; leaflets oblong to oblong-lanceolate, rounded or slightly pointed tip, slightly asymmetrical base, minutely toothed along edges, smooth except for some airs along the veins. Up to 1½“long, less than half as wide.

Buds: Dark brown, rounded, nearly hidden beneath the leaf scars, smooth ⅛” long.

Bark: Dark brown, deeply furrowed, and scaly at maturity.

Twigs: Slender, angular, reddish-brown, smooth, zigzag. With 3 parted or unbranched thorns; leaf scars, alternate, average 3 lobed, with 3 bundle traces.

Flowers: Small yellowish flowers appearing in May and June. Some flowers with both stamens and pistils, others with only one or the other, in elongated clusters up to 3” long.

Fruits: Elongated legumes up to 1½ feet long and 2” wide, flat, purple-brown, containing sever seeds embedded in thick pulp.

Wood: Hard, coarse-grained, reddish-brown.

Uses: Fence posts, coarse construction.

Habitat: Moist, wooden ravines, thickets, along roads.

Growth Form: Medium tree, reaching heights of 70 feet tall, trunk diameter up to 3’. Its crown broadly rounded often with dropping outer branches, trunk straight, usually with large, purple-brown three-parted thorns. Found in moist, wooded ravines, thickets along roads, from New York across to South Dakota, south to Texas, east to Florida.

Distinguishing Feature: The tree derives the name “honey” from the sweet, sticky pulp substance found in its pods. Honey locust has more leaflets than any other tree found in Illinois.

Source: Mohlenbrock, Robert. Forest Trees of Illinois. Eighth Edition, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 1996.