Be careful when you touch this tree – it bites! Honey locusts (Gleditsia triacanthos) have thorns that can really hurt if you mistakenly lean up against the bark.
Wildlife Uses of Honey Locust
Despite the thorns, this tree is beneficial to a lot of wildlife. White-tailed deer, squirrels, rabbits, opossums, crows, starlings, Bobwhite quail, and raccoons will eat the bean pods and it is a good source of nutrition for them in early fall to winter. Thickets of this tree can also provide excellent wildlife cover since the thorns will help keep predators out. The flowers are a good source of nectar for bees and other pollinators. The honey locust is a host plant for several moth and butterfly caterpillars.
What Do Honey Locust Trees Look Like?
It flowers in late spring to early summer and forms long seedpods in late summer. Each seedpod contains multiple seeds surrounded by a pulp. When ripe, they fall to the ground and can produce a sweet odor. You can find them on the ground in fall and sometimes through winter.
Trees can grow as tall as 100 feet but we usually see them much shorter at Tara. We find them growing along the edge of the woods, in fields, and along fence lines. It grows in a variety of soil conditions but prefers full sun.