Weed Identification

Australia > > Honey Locust Tree

Honey Locust Tree

Gleditsia triacanthos

Family: Fabaceae or Caesalpiniaceae.

Form: Tree

Origin: Native of eastern and central North America.

Flowers/Seedhead: In axillary racemes to 10 cm long, in most cases male and female flowers are on different plants but some plants have bisexual flowers. Sepals and petals similar, brownish-yellow, 35 of each. Flowers spring, either as leaves develop or after leaves appear.

Description: Deciduous spreading tree to 25 m high. Leaves to 20 cm long, leaflets elliptic to ovate, hairless, sparsely toothed. Seedpod slightly sickle-shaped, compressed, not opening at maturity, with seeds surrounded by a sweet pulp. Seeds flattened, ovoid, brown, about 10 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by simple or branched spines 218 cm long (some cultivars are spineless but some of their offspring are spiny); leaves pinnate or bipinnate, leaflets in 5 to 30 pairs, 14 cm long, 0.41.2 cm wide; sepals to 4 mm long, petals to 6 mm long, stamens 57; seedpod to 45 cm long, 1530 seeded.

Dispersal: Spreads by seed and suckering. Seeds are spread in animal dung and by water as pods float.

Pods & leaflets Moree, NSW January

Notes: Introduced as a fodder tree and cultivated as an ornamental. Pods are first produced when trees are 35 years old. Trunk is protected by thorns. Found in dense thickets along watercourses on the central coast, western slopes and tablelands of northern NSW and in south eastern Queensland. Introduced by William Macarthur to 'Camden Park', Camden NSW in mid 1800s and now widespread on the floodplain of the Hawkesbury-Nepean river system.


    Plant Protection Quarterly. S. Csurhes and D. Kriticos, 1994, Vol. 9, pages 101105.

Buds & male flowers & a purple spine

Dense growth on
floodplain Camden,
NSW, October

Thorny juvenile


This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card T13

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.


Australia > > Honey Locust Tree


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