Honey locust

Honey locust

Gleditsia triacanthos (Fabaceae)

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 Information

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

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