Honey locust

Gleditsia triacanthos
Honey locust: Gleditsia triacanthos Honey locust: Gleditsia triacanthos

Common name:

Honey locust

Scientific name:

Gleditsia triacanthos (Fabaceae)

Alternative common names:

Honeyshuck; sweet locust (English); soetpeulboom; driedoringboom; springkaanboom (Afrikaans); leoka (Sesotho)

A deciduous, spreading tree 15-20m tall. The trunk and branches have three-branched spines. Bright green bi-pinnate leaves consist of small paired lance-shaped and minutely toothed. Small, yellowish-green flowers appear from October to November. The seed capsules are flat and twisted brown pods.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    North America

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    Existing legislation: CARA 2002 – Category 1 NEMBA – Category 1b.

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng and Mpumalanga

    How does it spread?

    Spreads by seed dispersal

    Why is it a problem?

    It competes with and replaces indigenous species. Dense stands along watercourses could significantly reduce stream flow

    What does it look like?

    General description: An acacia-looking spreading tree growing 15-20m in height with sword-like thorns. Leaves: Bi-pinnate bright green leaves up to 200mm long. Flowers: Small, yellowish-green bundled flowers appear from October to November. Fruit/seeds: Dark, reddish-brown pods which are often twisted in profile.

    Does the plant have any uses?

    Fodder and donga reclamation