Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)


Quick Facts

  • Referred to as the “Confederate Pintree”  in the South because its thorns were used to pin uniforms together during the Civil War
  • The Cherokees in Tennessee made bows from the tree's strong wood
  • Pods of the tree can be used to make beer


Honey locust is a large, pollution-tolerant, shade tree. Its pinnate-compound leaves alternate on branches.  The species is polygamo-dioecious; meaning the male and female flowers are found on separate trees, but each tree also has some perfect flowers (both male and female). Species produces twisting pods up to 1.5 inches long, changing from yellow green to dark brown-red at maturity and contain many hard seeds. Young bark is smooth, tan-grey and soon becomes fissured with an orange interior bark; the species has intimidating, large, branched thorns on its trunk.