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Zones 1-16, 18-20, 32-43
Full Sun
Regular Water

Gleditsia triacanthos inermis

Honey Locust
Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Deciduous, Trees


Native to central and eastern North America. Fast growing to 35 to 70 ft. tall and 25 to 35 ft. wide, with upright trunk and spreading, arching branches. Bright green, fernlike leaves to 10 in. long are divided into many oval, 3/4 to 1 1/2-in.-long leaflets. Late to leaf out; leaves turn yellow before dropping early in autumn. Inconspicuous flowers followed by broad, 1 to 1 1/2-ft.-long pods filled with sweetish pulp (edible but insipid) and hard, roundish seeds.

Foliage casts filtered shade, allowing growth of lawn or other plants beneath tree’s canopy. Small leaflets dry up and filter into grass, decreasing raking chores. Not good in narrow area between curb and sidewalk, since roots on old plants will heave pavement. Tolerant of acid or alkaline conditions, salt, drought, cold, heat, wind. Does best in areas with sharply defined winters, hot summers. Prune out any wayward or crossing branches. Mimosa webworm (chews leaves) and pod gall midge (deforms foliage) are main pests. Additionally, honey locust borer (tunnels into limbs and trunks) may attack stressed tree.

Trunks and branches of the species are formidably thorny, and its pods make a mess. These selections of its thornless form Gleditsia triacanthos inermis are better choices for gardens, normally having few or no pods.

Gleditsia triacanthos inermis

Central and eastern North America. This is a thornless form, and a better choice for gardens, normally having few or no pods.

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