Gleditsia triacanthos Honey Locust

Honey Locust

Common name Honey Locust
Botanical name Gleditisia triacanthos
Family Fabaceae
Natural range North America
Mature height 10m
Form Broad spreading dome
Likes Full sun
Dislikes Not much
Where to plant Feature tree
Known for Spines – buy thornless variety!

A Journey Through the Garden: Meet the Gleditsia triacanthos
What Makes Honey Locusts Unique?

Gleditsia triacanthos, commonly known as the Honey Locust, is part of the Fabaceae family and can be traced back to North America. This versatile tree spreads out into a broad dome shape and loves basking under the full sun. It’s not picky about its surroundings and doesn’t have many dislikes when it comes to its growing conditions.

The Controversial Past of the Honey Locust

When it comes to the history of the Honey Locust, it’s a tale of two halves. On one side, this tree is celebrated for its multitude of ornamental cultivars that are adaptable and thrive well in urban environments. But on the flip side, it’s seen as a formidable, invasive weed that competes with native vegetation in some environments.

Friend or Foe?

The story of the Honey Locust depends on perspective. If you’re a city-dweller, it’s a charming, easy-to-grow deciduous tree that adds character to your backyard. However, if you’re a rural farmer in Queensland, it could be an unwelcome guest, causing more trouble than it’s worth.

Why the Honey Locust Made a Name for Itself in Australia

Despite its dual nature, the Honey Locust has found its place in Australia primarily as a fodder tree. It’s a sturdy, adaptable species, and its pods are excellent feed for livestock. But the tree has a protective side too – it can grow thorns that prevent the livestock from munching on it. It’s a curious paradox!

Urban Love

Urban areas have welcomed the Honey Locust with open arms, thanks to its adaptability. The tree is not phased by compacted soil, salt, alkaline soil, heat, or drought. Its rapid growth and tolerance for less than ideal conditions make it an excellent choice for new parks or housing developments that require quick shade.

Honey Locust Cultivars: A Wealth of Choices

A number of fascinating Honey Locust cultivars are available in Australia today. Many of these have been cultivated to avoid the invasive characteristics of the wild species. Some of the popular ones are:

  1. ‘Continental’ and ‘Elegantissimia’ which are known for their upright, compact growth.
  2. ‘Ruby Lace’ stands out with its bronze-coloured foliage.
  3. ‘Shademaster’ is a vigorous grower with long, ascending branches.
  4. ‘Sunburst’ is loved for its semi-weeping habit and the new yellow foliage that adds a pop of colour.
Little-Known Facts About the Honey Locust
  1. The Honey Locust can reach a mature height of 10 metres.
  2. Despite its thorny nature, you can buy a thornless variety of this tree.
  3. The Honey Locust is known for its resistance to urban pollutants.
Links for Further Reading
  1. Understanding the Honey Locust’s Natural Range
  2. Interesting Facts About the Fabaceae Family
  3. The Role of the Honey Locust in Agriculture
More from our Tree Spotlight collection
Liked this tree? Jump to something else. There’s not many like it.
Back to the Tree Spotlight main page
Scroll to Top