Tree to 20 or even 40 m; lvs with 9-14 pairs of lfls or 4-7 pairs of pinnae; lfls oblong-lanceolate, obscurely crenate, 2-4 cm on pinnate lvs, 1-2 cm on bipinnate ones; petioles pubescent; staminate racemes 3-7 cm, densely many-fld; fertile racemes loose, with fewer, more evidently pedicellate, pistillate or perfect fls; pods 15-40 נ3-4 cm, dark brown, firm, pubescent when young, the seeds ca 2 cm apart and separated by sweetish pulp; 2n=28. Rich moist woods; Pa. to Tenn. and w. Fla., w. to s. Minn., se. S.D. and Tex., and widely cult. elsewhere. May. G. شexana Sarg., with pods 10-15 cm, lacking pulp, is a rare hybrid with no. 2 [Gleditsia aquatica Marshall].
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Common Name: honeylocust Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Tree Wetland Status: FAC General: Perennial trees 50-140 feet tall, the boles usually short and often divided near the ground, trunk and lower branches armed with large thorns, these with one point or branching into many points, commonly forming dense clusters, the thorns are usually soft and green when young, then hardening and turning reddish or black to gray with age, bark 6-35 mm thick with narrow ridges divided by fissures, often peeling in strips, trees deciduous. Leaves: Alternate, oddly 2-pinnate and 1-pinnate, 2-pinnate leaves with 4-20 leaflets, these elliptic to oblong, 13-25 mm long, 1- pinnate leaves with 20-28 leaflets, also elliptic to oblong and 15-35 mm long, blade surfaces glabrous, pinnately viened, the leaves with stipules. Flowers: Small, bilateral, in fragrant, narrow, hanging clusters, the perianths yellow-green with 5 petals, these free, fused, or the lower 2 united a into a keel, flowers staminate and pistillate; staminate flowers to 3 mm long, pistillate flowers 4-5 mm long, sepals 5, fused, stamens 5-7, stamens 10 or many, free or fused or 10 with 9 filaments at least partly fused, the uppermost free, pistil 1, ovary superior, 1-chambered, ovules 1-many, style, stigma 1, inflorescences staminate and pistillate; staminate inflorescences 1-several per spur, 3.5-8 cm long, simple or branching at the tips,pistillate inflorescences 1 per spur, 3-5 cm long, simple. Fruits: Legumes 20-40 cm long and 2.5-3 cm wide, generally curved, often twisted, hairy in youth, brown, glabrous, and shiny, the insides with thick, sweet, edible pulp, fruits persistent in age, generally 1-3 per peduncle. Seeds medium to dark brown, shiny. Ecology: Found in moist riparian to dry upland woodlands, to 2,500 ft (762 m); flowering May-June. Distribution: Widespread across most of the United States. Notes: The mature thorns of this species are quite sharply pointed and wicked-looking, often forming dense clusters on the surfaces of the trunk and branches. The thorns, along with the pinnately or bi-pinnately compound leaves and sweet-pulped legumes are good indicators of this species. Etymology: Gleditsia is named for German botanist Johann Gottlieb Gleditsch, and triacanthos means three-spined. Synonyms: Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis Editor: LCrumbacher2012
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
Infrequent throughout the state on the low banks of streams and adjacent lowlands, rare in low woodland, and frequent in swampy lowlands of the southwestern counties. The pods of this species are variable in the amount of pubescence. They are mostly more or less pubescent, rarely entirely glabrous or densely pubescent all over at maturity. [Deam discusses the thornless form of G. triacanthos as follows:] The few mature fruited specimens I have examined show that this form has straighter, shorter, and narrower pods than the species and the pods are dry within, not pulpy. The seed are elliptic-oblong, slightly compressed while the seed of the [full] species are much larger and flatter. I have learned from nurserymen who supply western planters with the thornless form for planting that the seed of the thornless form produce about 60 per cent of seedlings without thorns. This form has been reported from Greene, Jefferson, and Lawrence Counties but I have never seen or heard, of a thornless tree in northern Indiana. I saw a large tall tree near the top of a ridge in a woods in Fayette County and the remainder of the trees I have seen were in the bottoms along the Wabash River in the southwestern part of the state. I have no data on its general distribution. Sargent writes that it is the prevailing form in Taney County, Missouri.
Indiana Coefficient of Conservatism: C = 1
Wetland Indicator Status: FACU
Deam (1932): In the southern counties honey locust has spread all over many of the hillsides which were once cleared and have been abandoned for agricultural purposes and left to natural forest regeneration. It was interesting to learn that the seeds were scattered by cattle which greedily eat the fruit. It is a medium sized tree, except in the Wabash Bottoms of the southwestern part of the state, where it grows to be one of the largest trees of the forest, and is more luxuriant than in any other part of its range. The wood is used principally for interior finish, furniture, posts, and crossties. The tree has a grace that recommends it for ornamental planting despite it thorns. However, a thornless variety is now offered by nurserymen. It adapts itself to all kinds of soils, although it prefers a moist, rich soil; grows rapidly and is comparatively free from insect damage.