Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Thornless Honeylocust
Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis

Family: Caesalpiniaceae (ses-al-pin-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Gleditsia (gleh-DIT-see-uh) (Info)
Species: triacanthos var. inermis

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

7 members have or want this plant for trade.


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)
over 40 ft. (12 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)
30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 13 photos.
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1 positive
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral recentcoin On Mar 7, 2014, recentcoin from Celeste, TX wrote:

There are both seedless and thorn-less varieties of this tree. I highly recommend investigating the use of those since the 3 complaints about this tree are 1) thorns, 2) seed pods, and 3) invasive suckers.

This tree really needs to be kept somewhat dry in order to stop the suckers. In Texas, where it is from, it grows quite well in hot dry summers.

Neutral coriaceous On Mar 7, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is the thornless variety from which the many widely planted cultivars have been selected. Most people find the many large seedpods to be a maintenance headache when they fall. Some of the cultivars have far fewer pods, and are preferable to this variety.

Most of the so-called "seedless" cultivars will produce some seedpods under some conditions, but generally not enough to cause problems. For that matter, many of the "thornless" cultivars will produce an occasional thorn. Take care in handling these plants.

Gracefully vase-shaped, generally 30-70', though as much as 100' is possible. This is one of the few shade trees (together with oaks and hickories) in whose shade a lawn can thrive. Its leaves are late to appear in the spring and early to color and drop in the fall.

This used to be a great city tree. It has many virtues: adaptable, fast-growing, readily transplanted, leaves that never need raking, good yellow fall color, tolerant of salt, drought, pollution, and high pH soils...It used to be virtually problem-free.

After the disappearance of the American elm as a street tree in the 1950's and 60's, due to Dutch Elm disease, there was a lot of talk about never again letting our cities become overplanted with a single tree species. Diversity in planting can prevent the catastophic loss of our city trees due to the advent of a single pest or disease.

And then everyone promptly planted honey locusts, because they rarely suffered from pests or diseases. By the 80's, a host of pest and disease problems had accumulated due to this tree's overplanting, and it's no longer the trouble-free city tree it once was.

This may still have value as an urban lawn tree, but I wouldn't recommend it as a street tree, due to its many problems and its overplanting.

The cultivars all seem to have been selected from seed of northern provenance, and (according to Dirr) none of them perform well in the heat, humidity, and heavy soils of the southeastern USA.

Positive angele On Mar 2, 2008, angele wrote:

I have this tree growing in the southwest corner of my yard & I love it. It provides nice shade in the summer. The bees are crazy for the flowers. I like the shape too.

Neutral smiln32 On Nov 9, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This tree transplants very easily. It withstands a wide range of conditions although it reaches maximum development on rich, moist bottomlands or on soils of a limestone origin.

It is tolerant of drought conditions, high soil pH and salty conditions.

It is an excellent lawn tree for filtered shade and grows very quickly.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Evanston, Illinois
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Ashland, Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska
Elephant Butte, New Mexico
Farmington, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
Middletown, Ohio
Gibsonia, Pennsylvania
Orem, Utah
Davenport, Washington

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