|Gleditsia triacanthos subsp. var.||Honey locust, Thornless honey locust|
Honey locusts can reach a height of 20–30 m (66–100 ft), with fast growth, and are relatively short-lived; about 120 years, some living up to 150. They are also prone to losing large branches in windstorms. The leaves are pinnately compound on older trees but bipinnately compound on vigorous young trees. The leaflets are 1.5–2.5 cm (smaller on bipinnate leaves) and bright green. They turn yellow in the fall (autumn). Leafs out relatively late in spring, but generally slightly earlier than the black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia). The strongly scented cream-colored flowers appear in late spring, in clusters emerging from the base of the leaf axils.
The fruit of the Honey locust is a flat legume (pod) that matures between September and October. The pods are generally between 15–20 cm. The pulp on the insides of the pods is edible, unlike the Black locust, which is toxic.
Honey locusts commonly have thorns 3–10 cm long growing out of the branches; these may be single, or branched into several points, and commonly form dense clusters. The thorns are fairly soft and green when young, harden and turn red as they age, then fade to ash grey and turn brittle when mature. Thornless forms (G. t. inermis) are occasionally found growing wild.
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Gleditsia triacanthos, Linn. Honey or Sweet Locust. Three- Thorned Acacia. Tree, 70-140 ft., usually with stout simple or branched spines 3—4 in. long: lvs. 6-8 in. long, with pubescent grooved rachis; pinnate with 20-30 lfts., bipinnate with 8-14 pinnse; lfts. oblong- lanceolate, remotely crenulate-serrate, ¾ - 1 ½ in- long: fls. very short-pedicelled in 1 ½ -3 in. long, narrow racemes; ovary pubescent: pod 12-18 in. long, slightly falcate and twisted at length. May, June. From Pa. south to Miss., west to Neb. and Texas. Var. inermis, Pursh. Unarmed or nearly so, of somewhat more slender and looser habit; var. inermis elegantissima, Grosdemange, is an unarmed form of dense bushy habit and with smaller lfts. Var. bujotii. Rehd. (G. bujotii, Neum. G. bujotii pendula, Hort.). With slender, pendulous branches and narrower Ifts. glabrous or only pubescent on the margin. CH
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Pests and diseases
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- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963