Honey Locust – Identification
Q: Could you tell me what kind of tree this is? We cut it down because it was just too dangerous with all those spikes coming out of it. The spikes are on the limbs as well as the trunk.
The leaves look similar to a mimosa and it even has bean pods like the mimosa, but these are much larger.
A: It’s a honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos. It can make a nice shade tree but I agree that the thorns are wicked.
Thornless honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis, is what you’ll usually find sold at nurseries.
My first natural sciences mentor, Dr. Frank Fitch, showed me a thorny honey locust near the eagle mound at Rock Eagle 4-H Camp. He pointed out that the pods are filled with a sticky, sweet pulp that wild animals enjoy.