Thursday, July 22, 2010

Honey Locust


A genus of 14 legume trees native to North America, South America, Asia and parts of Africa.
They all have attractive, ferny foliage. Most are heavily armed with thorns, often on the trunk. The Honey Locusts are deep and widely rooted.
The flowers are an important source of bee nectar.
The Gleditsias have very strong wood and branches that resist ice and wind.
The Gleditsias are very tough but do prefer full sun and moist, fertile soil.
They are generally tolerant of urban pollution.
Some species are prone to having their foliage eaten by Mimosa Webworm but are resistant to Gypsy Moth and deer. Mites, galls and borers may also be occasional problems.
Propagation is from seed. Germination is best either with boiling water poured over seeds which are then left to soak for 24 hours or soaked in boiling water and left to cool until swollen or soaked in sulfuric acid for 2 hours than in hot water.
Cultivars are typically grafted or budded. Bare root trees can be transplanted during the dormant season.

* photos taken on July 31 2011 in Hyde Park, NY

Gleditsia amorphoides ( South American Honey Locust )
Also called Caranchí. A large tree native to South America ( central Brazil to northern Argentina ) that is similar to Gleditsia triacanthos and can reach up to 82 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 feet. Tourist in South America can find it growing at the Buenos Aires Botanical Garden.
The bipinnate leaves are similar to that of Gleditsia triacanthos but the elliptic or oval leaflets are larger. The foliage is glossy bright green.
The bark is flaky and dark gray. The trunk is often thickly covered in viscious branched spines.
Not damaged at 15 F in Arizona. Estimated hardiness is to zone 6.
Propagation is from seed sown directly after last spring frost.

Gleditsia aquatica ( Water Locust )
A fast growing, large tree native to swampy areas in eastern Texas, the Mississippi Valley and the southeastern U.S. It can grow large to 60 feet or more. Some records include: 20 years - 82 feet; largest on record - 100 x 75 feet with a trunk diameter of 3.3 feet; largest in Pennsylvania - 74 x 63 x 3.3 feet at Wyndmoor; largest in Michigan - 70 x 45 x 2.5 feet in Monroe, MI; largest in England - 80 feet. As some of these records indicate; this tree thrives far north of its natural range which was apparently shoved southward in the previous ice age.
The leaves are up to 10 inches in length and are composed of shiny green leaflets up to 1.5 x 0.5 inches in size. The leaves are typically pinnate but sometimes bipinnate on vigorous shoots. The foliage is often reddish at first and also turns to yellow during autumn.
The inconspicuous flowers are tiny, and yellow-green, packed into spikes up to 3 inches in length that appear in spring with the foliage.
The seedpods are short and diamond shaped, to 3 inches in length, containing only 1 or 2 seeds.
The twigs are zigzagged and the thorns are branched and up to 4 inches in length.
Hardy zones 4 to 10; thriving far north of its native range, especially in the Midwest.

* photos taken on Jul 18 2017 @ Dominion Arboretum, Ottawa, ON

* photo taken on Sep 3 2017 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* historical archive photo

Gleditsia caspica ( Caspian Locust )
A fast growing, extremely thorny, medium sized tree to 40 feet that is native to northern Iran in areas near the Caspian Sea. Some record include: 2 years - 8 feet; 3 years - 10 feet; 4 years - 14 feet; largest on record - 62 x 40 feet with a trunk diameter of 1.3 feet; largest in England - 53 feet. Long lived and can easily exceed 100 years.
The foliage is glossy, deep green turning to yellow in autumn.
The leaves up to 11 inches in length are composed of up to 20 leaflets up to 2.5 x 1.5 inches in size.
The densely packed, tiny green flowers are borne in downy racemes in spring and are followed by thin seedpods up to 8 inches in length.
The ferocious thorns are up to 6 inches in length.
Hardy zones 6 to 10 ( possibly hardier as a tree thrives in Chicago ). It is very heat tolerant and even reported as healthy and vigorous on irrigation in Tucson, Arizona.

* photos taken on Feb 8 2014 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

Gleditsia japonica ( Japanese Honeylocust )
Also called Gleditsia horrida. A very thorny ( branched thorns up to 10 inches in length ), fast growing, medium sized, pyramidal tree to 60 feet that is native to eastern China, Korea and Japan. Some records include: 7 years - 20 feet; largest on record - 100 x 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 6.6 feet. Long lived, it is known to persist as long as 450 years.
A graceful and delicate attractive landscape or shade tree in any locations thorns are not an issue.
The mid-green foliage turns to yellow during autumn. The leaves are up to 12 inches in length and are composed of up to 24 oblong to lance shape leaflets up to 3.5 x 1.6 ( rarely over 2.5 x 0.5 ) inches in size.
The often twisted, seed pods are up to 12 inches in length.
Hardy zones 5 to 9 ( seed source from Liaoning, should be tested in 4 ), it thrives in much of central and eastern U.S.

Gleditsia macracantha ( Bigspine Honeylocust )
A large, deciduous tree that is native to central China.
The pinnate leaves, up to 7 inches long, are composed of 15 to 19 oblong leaflets ( each up to 2 x 0.4 inches in size ).
The pods are up to 5 inches in length.
Hardy zones 5 to 8.

* photos taken on Jul 18 2017 @ Dominion Arboretum, Ottawa, ON

Gleditsia sinensis ( Chinese Honeylocust )
A fast growing, medium-size tree to 50 feet or more that is native to central and eastern China. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 4 feet; 5 years - 14 feet; largest on record - 100 x 56 feet with a trunk diameter of 4.2 feet. Older trees have a spreading crown with massive branches. A long lived tree, its maximum life expectancy has not been recorded.
The foliage is luxuriant deep green. The pinnate leaves up to 10.5 ( rarely over 8 ) inches in length are composed of up to 18 leaflets to 3.5 x 1.5 inches in length. The Chinese Honeylocust is NOT double pinnate and has much larger leaflets than the North American Honeylocust.
The flower clusters are up to 7 inches in length.
The thick, woody, purplish brown seed pods are up to 10 inches in length.
Heat and drought tolerant; it even grows in Tucson, Arizona if irrigated.
Thrives in sun or partial shade and is hardy zones 5 to 10 tolerating as low as -20 F

* photos taken on Jul 18 2017 @ Dominion Arboretum, Ottawa, ON

* photo taken on March 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum

* photo taken on May 8 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photos taken on 4th of July 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* historic archive photo

Gleditsia triacanthos ( Honey Locust )
A large tree, rugged in structure ( often flat topped ) but delicate in foliage that can reach over 80 feet and is native to midwestern North America ( from southeast South Dakota to far southern Minnesota to far southern Michigan to Bayfield, Ontario to Owen Sound, Ontario to Trenton, Ontario to southeast Pennsylvania; south to central Texas to northern Alabama ). In the Windsor/Essex County, Ontario region; it was abundant along the Detroit River spreading east to Leamington and Point Pelee during the 1800s. It was also abundant at Detroit, Michigan during that time. One clone grows native and wild in the mountains of Tamaulipas, Mexico. It is frequently planted and sometimes naturalized in central & eastern Europe, especially France, Austria, Romania & Bulgaria. Growth rates include: fastest recorded growth rate - 6 feet; 3 years - 16 feet; 5 years - 17 feet ( 25 x 16 feet unconfirmed ); 8 years - 25 feet
10 years - 50 x 43 feet; 15 years - 60 feet; largest on record - 190 x 82 feet with a trunk diameter of 10 feet; largest in Michigan - 116 x 105 x 6 feet in Lenawee Co.; oldest on record - 360 years. Back in the settlement days Honeylocust's of immense sizes dominated many a river valley in the Midwestern U.S.
Not sure what the Canadian record is however huge trees have been recorded in Ontario near St Davids, Niagara ( 86 x 4.3 feet diam in 1980 ) and along some farm roads outside of Amherstburg, Ontario ( observed over 10 years ago and not sure if they are still there ) within its tiny native range in Canada. It was during presettlement times and still is very abundant on the Ohio shore. It is widely used as an urban street tree in North America including far east, north and west of its native natural range.
The ferny foliage appears late in spring, is bright green and turns to clear bright yellow to orange during autumn.
The leaves, up to 8 inches in length, are pinnate on old shoots and double pinnate with as much as 150 leaflets on vigorous shoots.
The leaflets are typically shorter than an inch though rarely as large as 2 x 0.5 inches.
The flowers in spring are yellow green and borne in upright racemes up to 3 inches in length.
The twisted, dark red-brown, hanging seed pods are very long up to 12 or rarely 18 inches in length. Pods may be produced on trees as young as 5 years.
The immature pods while still green are sweet tasting and can be eaten raw or cooked as a vegetable.
The Honeylocust is an excellent forage plant for livestock. The pods can also be ground to a meal and added to animal feed. A single acre of trees can produce as much as 2.5 tons of pods yearly. The pods contain around 30 percent sugar. Fermenting the sugar-rich pods is an excellent way to produce fuel alcohol, high protein animal feed as well as nitrogen rich fertilizer.
The wood is heavy, up to 44 pounds per square foot. The bark on older trees is dark gray brown, in narrow plates. The wood gives off good fuel at 24 million Btu per cord. Honeylocust can be coppiced during late autumn or very early spring if used for wood production. The wood is useful for construction and cabinet making. The wood is also great for use as fence posts as termites avoid it.
The wood also contains 2 important anti-cancerous compounds ( Fuscin and Fisetin ).
While wild trees can be extremely thorny ( thorns are 3 to 12 inches in length ), especially on the trunk; most trees in cultivation originate from a rare subspecies called 'Inermis' which is completely thornless as are it's offspring.
Hardy zones 3 to 9 in full sun, preferring deep, rich, well drained soil.
Salt, saline soil, fire, drought, flood, alkaline soil, deer, pollution and heat tolerant and will even grow in Tucson, AZ. It requires a yearly precipitation exceeding 20 inches. Propagation is from seed or for cultivars - hard or green cuttings or root cuttings.
The Honeylocust does not enjoy being transplants. It is recommended to sow the seeds or plant the rooted cuttings in long cardboard tubes asa 1 year seedling may have a taproot 2 to 3 feet long.

* photo taken on May 4 2010 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on May 8 2010 @ McCrillis Gardens, Bethesda, MD

* photo of unknown source on internet

* photo taken on July 1 2010 in Ellicott City, MD

* photos taken on July 17 2010 @ Morris Arboretum, Philly, PA

* photo taken on August 2 2010 @ Bayfield, Ontario overlooking Lake Huron

* photo taken by William R. Barbour @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* photos taken on July 27 2015 in Bayfield, ON

* gleditsia triacanthos in Forest, ON

* gleditsia triacanthos in Amherstburg, ON

* gleditsia triacanthos in Bothwell, ON

* gleditsia triacanthos on Cockburn Island, ON

* gleditisa triacanthos in Dunnville, ON

* gleditisa triacanthos in Port Colborne, ON

* gleditisa triacanthos in Harrow, ON

* gleditisa triacanthos in Smithville, ON

* gleditisa triacanthos in Detroit, MI

* historical archive photos

Reaches up to 110 feet in height with a trunk up to 5 feet in diameter, though usually much less. The branches are somewhat pendulous and the foliage is bright green.

Similar to species, originally developed for improved seed pod production.

Vigorous with deep blue-green foliage.

* photo of unknown internet source

Extremely fast growing, columnar and strongly upright. Growth rates as much as 9 feet in a year have been recorded.

'Emerald Cascade'
Weeping tree. The foliage is luxuriant deep green in summer and turns to bright yellow in autumn.

Among the fastest growing of all thornless green foliage cultivars, reaches a maximum size of 50 x 40 feet in only 15 years, eventually much larger.

* photo of unknown internet source

* photos taken on July 25 2018 in Columbia, MD

'Green Glory'
Rapid growing and pyramidal when young. Foliage is deep green and last late in autumn.

A thornless and very fast growing with a tall, somewhat narrow crown.
Foliage turns to golden yellow in autumn.

* photo of unknown internet source

* photos taken on Oct 28 2017 in Columbia, MD

A thornless, tall, well shaped, broad-crowned tree. The dense foliage is dense, ferny, deep green. The foliage turns intense golden-yellow during autumn. A thornless and fruitless male clone that is fast growing but not as much as some other cultivars, around 32 x 28 feet can be expected in 15 years. Eventually it can reach up to 80 x 50 feet or rarely more. It has superior resistance to bagworms and webworm.

* photo taken on May 1 2010 in Ellicott City, MD

* photos taken on Oct 24 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Aug 14 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on July 26 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on July 17 2016 in Bayfield, Ontario

* photos taken on Jan 21 2018 in Columbia, MD

* Gleditsia triacanthos 'Moraine' in Simcoe, ON

* moraine honeylocust in Indiana

Slower growing and rounded, reaching a maximum size of 60 x 60 feet in 100 years and eventually 80 feet.

'Northern Acclaim'
Extremely hardy, north to zone 3a on the Great Plains. It is also very vigorous, reaching up to 45 feet in 25 years, eventually 60 x 60 feet or more.
The mid-green foliage turns to golden-yellow in autumn.

'Prairie Silk'
Extra hardy, to -43 F and even thrives in Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, MB. This cultivar can reach as large as 60 x 40 feet in North Dakota's harsh climate.

A medium-sized tree, reaching up to 70 feet; it is thornless.
The foliage is deep red at first turning to bronze-green.

* photos taken on August 3 2012 @ University of Western Ontario, London, ON

Very fast growing with a strong, straight trunk and upright broad canopy, can reach 25 feet in 6 years; 45 x 35 feet in 15 years, eventually much larger.
Was the best tree selected from a plot of 20 000 seedlings tested.
The foliage is luxuriant deep green in summer and lasts very late in autumn.
It is thornless and bears very few pods.

* photos taken on Jul 18 2017 @ Dominion Arboretum, Ottawa, ON

* photo of unknown internet source

* photo taken on Apr 15 2018 in Kingston, PA

* shademaster honeylocust in Tara, ON

USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Herman, D.E., et al. 1996. North Dakota tree handbook

* historical archive photo

Thornless and very fast growing ( 10 years - 30 feet; 15 years - 45 x 35 feet, eventually much larger ) developing a very symmetrical broadly-conical canopy.
The foliage is deep green and turns to golden-yellow in autumn.

* photo taken on Jul 18 2017 @ Dominion Arboretum, Ottawa, ON

Fast growing and thornless, with bright yellow young foliage that matures to luxuriant green. Very attractive!

* photo dated April 1973 Amherstburg, ON from family photo album

* photo taken on August 1994 in Amherstburg, Ontario

* photo taken on August 4 2010 @ Stratford, Ontario

* Sunburst honeylocust in Port Burwell, ON
* sunburst honeylocust in Bothwell, ON

* sunburst honeylocust near Colchester, ON

* sunburst honeylocust in Teeswater, ON

* sunburst honeylocust in Wingham, ON

* sunburst honeylocust in Lighthouse Cove, ON

* sunburst honeylocust in Cookstown, ON

* sunburst honeylocust in Hamilton, ON
* historic archive photo

Broad domed canopy with widely spreading and horizontal lower branches.
Excellent golden fall color.

Gleditsia vestita ( Villose Honey Locust )
A fast growing, large tree to 82 feet, native to central China where it is extremely endangered. Some records include: 1 st year - 4 feet; largest on record - 100 x 60 feet.
The leaves are composed of up to 18 leaflets up to 2.5 inches in length.
The twisted pods are very large, up to 16 x 2.5 inches.
This tree has a trunk covered in short, stout branches covered with spines
Hardy north to zone 6 and tolerates cool summers and is sometimes grown in British Columbia.

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