Gleditsia triacanthos, commonly called honey locust, is native from Pennsylvania to Iowa south to Georgia and Texas. It typically grows 60-80’ (less frequently to 120’) tall with a rounded spreading crown. Trunk and branches have stout thorns (to 3” long) that are solitary or three-branched. Inconspicuous, greenish yellow to greenish white flowers appear in racemes in late spring (May-June in St. Louis). Flowers are followed by long, twisted and flattened, dark purplish-brown seedpods (to 18” long) which mature in late summer and persist well into winter. Seedpods contain, in addition to seeds, a sweet gummy substance that gives honey locust its common name. Species plants are generally not sold in commerce today because the thorns and seedpods are considered to be significant liabilities. Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis is a thornless variety (inermis from Latin means unarmed) that occurs naturally in the wild. Cultivars of this variety are not only thornless but are often seedless or nearly seedless, thus making them preferred plants for landscape use. ‘Skyline’ features pyramidal growth with a central leader. It is a thornless and nearly seedless variety that typically grows to 40-45′ tall. Pinnate to bipinnate dark green leaves with ovate leaflets (1/2” to 1 1/2” long) cast a sun-dappled shade. Leaves turn an attractive yellow in fall. Genus name honors Johann Gottlieb Gleditsch (1714-1786), medical doctor and one-time Director of the Berlin Botanical Garden. Specific epithet comes from the Greek acantha (thorn) and tri (three) in reference to the three-branched thorns on species plants.
Winchester Gardens generally stocks this item.