The Trees of Cornell

Honey Locust

Historie des Arbres_Gleditsia triacanthos.png
Gleditsia triacanthos from Histoire Des Arbres Forestiers De l'Amérique Septentrionale (1810)

Gleditsia triacanthos

The honey locust grows quickly, yet is remarkably tolerant of pollution, drought and salt. For this reason, it is often used in urban environments, where it provides fragrant spring flowers that attract bees, along with generous, dappled shade thanks to its tall size and wide spread (up to 70 feet on both counts).

Its bipinnately compound leaves turn a lovely golden yellow in the fall. By late summer and fall it produces long brown seed pods that look a little like leather straps and contain a honey-like substance. Honey locust wood is famously durable, and is often used in fence posting and for other purposes requiring strong, rot-resistant wood.

Honey locusts tolerate soils that are acidic or alkaline, moist or dry. While easy to grow, they do best in sunny spots (at least six hours of unfiltered sun/day).

A native North American tree, the honey locust’s natural range includes the Great Lakes, the northern Great Plains, and the south-central regions of the United States.

Go to the Coloring Sheet

Map of Honey Locusts on the Cornell Campus

Text from The North American Sylva, Volume 2

See complete document on HathiTrust

One Honey Locust's Projected Benefits

Every tree provides both function and value, from shade and wildlife habitats to CO2 sequestration and stormwater retention. To help us appreciate some of the benefits of the trees around us, iTree Design has developed a tool to calculate the main financial benefits of a given tree in a specific location over time.

Note that these monetary values will vary greatly based on where the tree stands; energy usage for indoor spaces will not be reduced by a tree placed far from a building, for example. These numbers are calculated for one specific Honey Locust tree that stands here on the Ag Quad of Cornell's Ithaca Campus.

Total Projected Benefits (2020-2045)

Over the next 25 years, based on forecasted treegrowth, i-Tree Design projects total benefits worth $303.

$254 of savings by reducing 10,919 lbs. of atmospheric carbon dioxide through CO2 sequestration and decreased energy production needs and emissions

$48 of storm runoff savings by avoiding 5,383 gallons of stormwater runoff (intercepting 55,770 gallons of rainfall)

$1 of air quality improvement savings by absorbing and intercepting pollutants such asozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, andparticulate matter; reducing energy productionneeds; and lowering air temperature

$0 of summer energy savings by direct shadingand air cooling effect through evapotranspiration

$0 of winter energy savings by slowing downwinds and reducing home heat loss

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Honey Locusts on the Cornell Campus