Landowner Fact Sheets

honeylocust Gleditsia triacanthos play

Honeylocust commonly grows on limestone or moist bottomland soils throughout the south-central and lower midwest states. It is often planted in urban situations for its finely textured compound leaves and admirable tolerance of both drought and salinity.

range map Click to see more images. fall color

Honeylocust's shade intolerance and pioneering nature allow only for methods offering maximum light levels, i.e. clearcuts. Honeylocust sprouts readily from cut stumps and produces seeds annually, with best crops every other year, and maximum bearing age from 25-75.

Honeylocust is a very common street tree, but is naturally found on moist bottomlands or on limestone soils.


A medium size tree with a typically short bole and an airy, spreading crown, reaches up to 80 feet tall.

Timber Value
Honeylocust's dense, heavy wood is used for fence posts, pallets, crates, general construction, furniture, interior finish, turnery, and fuelwood.

Wildlife Value
Fruits are high in both carbohydrates and proteins.
Attracts cattle, hogs, rabbits, squirrels, deer, opossum, birds

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Because of its useful timber, sparse shade, and edible, nutritious pods, honeylocust is a valuable tree for agroforestry systems. The common name alludes to the honey-like taste of the pulp inside the seed pods. The variety, "inermis", is a commonly planted street tree that does not bear pods or thorns.

Latin Meaning
Gleditsia: after Gottlieb Gleditsch, German botanist / triacanthos: Greek "treis" (three) and "akantha" (spine)

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.