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Home > Resources > North Carolina Trees > Honeylocust


(Gleditsia triacanthos L)

  Honeylocust is found scattered throughout the state, except in the high mountains. It grows under a wide variety of soil and moisture conditions. It sometimes grows in the forest, but more commonly grows beside roads and fields. Honeylocust leaves are 7 to 8 inches long, pinnately compound and often bipinnately compound. (See forward for drawings of pinnately and bipinnately compound leaves.) Leaflets are oval, 1 to 1/2 inches long and are a shiny dark green above and dull yellow-green below. Bipinnate leaves have four to seven pairs of pinnae, each with 15 to 30 leaflets. Branches and trunk are armed with stout, rigid, three-forked spines that are 2 to 3 inches long. The fruit is a flat, dark brown pod 12 to 18 inches long, containing oval seeds. Pods twist into corkscrew shapes before falling in autumn or early winter. Trees typically reach heights of 50 to 80 feet, with trunk diameters of 2 to 3 feet. The crown is broad and flat topped. Honeylocust bark is dark brown or gray and is divided into narrow, flat plates. The wood is coarse-grained, hard, strong and moderately resistant to decay. It is used for fenceposts and crossties. It should not be confused with the much darker and very durable wood of the black locust.  
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