Table of Contents for Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) is a deciduous tree native to the mid-western and eastern United States, but has been planted extensively throughout. It is a host plant for one butterfly and two moths. The greenish yellow-white flowers come out in the late spring to early summer.
Taxonomy and History of Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) was described and named by Carl Von Linnaeus in 1753 in Species Plantarum. It has kept the same name since. This plant is a member of the Bean Family (Fabaceae).
Honey Locust Description and Alternative Names
Honey locust is a deciduous tree that can grow to up to 100 feet tall, but is often shorter. The alternate, bipinnately compound, entire leaflets range from 0.5 to 1 inch in length and 0.75 to 1.5 inches in width. The branches and trunk is thorny with thorns up to 4 inches in length. The tree blooms in the late spring with greenish yellow-white flowers.
This plant is also known as thorny locust and thorny honeylocust.
Range and Habitat
This species is native from the mid-west to eastern United States, but has been planted extensively throughout. In Canada, it is found in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.
Honey Locust grows in river valleys, but is very adaptable and can be aggressive in a multitude of habitats. It can be found in a lot of planted settings as a landscape tree.
Insects and Other Wildlife it Supports
This tree is a host to the Silver-Spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus), the Honey Locust Moth (Syssphinx bicolor) and the Bisected Honey Locust Moth (Sphingicampa bisecta).
Other Wildlife Value
The flowers attract bees and other butterflies and the beans on the inside of the pods are eaten by many small mammals. A tea can be made from the beans.
The genus name, Gleditsia, is in honor of Johann Gottlieb Gleditsch, a German botanist. The species name, triacanthos, refers to the three branched thorns. (Missouri Botanical Garden). The wood of honey locust is tough and is used for fence posts and railroad ties.