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Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

The leaves are considered poisonous!


antiseptic, anti-cancer

Areas of application:

Anesthetic, antiseptic, anti-cancer agent, effective against the growth of cancer cells, cold, cough, sore throat, smallpox, measles, indigestion, whooping cough

Plant parts used:

Bark, root, leaves, spines, seedpods

Collection time:

at any time

To find:

On moist, fertile soils in mountain forests, rocky slopes, old fields and floodplains, central and eastern parts of the USA and southern Europe.




Honey Locust is a deciduous tree that can reach a height of almost 40 meters. The tree has a tendency to lose large branches during storms. It is armed with thick, branched thorns up to 7.5 cm long. The bark is blackish or grey-brown, with smooth, long, plate-like bark patches separated by furrows. Their sharp thorns grow on the main trunk and at the bases of the branches. Annual branches only have individual spines, whereas older branches have three spines arranged in groups. The spines grow from the wood and diminish as the tree ages. Young spines are green but mature to red, brown or gray. The leaves are deciduous, alternate, lilac-split or bipinnate and 10 to 20 cm long. They often have 3 to 6 pairs of side branches, with pairs of shiny, dark green leaves. The small, numerous flowers are greenish-yellow and hang in clusters. They are 5 to 12.5 cm long, either male or female, and are borne on individual trees. However, every tree has some perfect flowers (male and female). The flowers have a pleasant scent. The fruits are flattened, strap-shaped pods that are 15 to 40 cm long and 2.5 to 3.75 cm wide. They are dark brown when ripe, pendulous and usually twisted or spiral-shaped, with a sticky, sweet and tasty flesh. The seeds inside the pod are bean-shaped and about 0.8 to 1.25 cm long. The trees bloom from May to June and bear fruit from September to October. The pods sometimes remain on the tree until February.

🛑 The leaves are considered poisonous, but the seeds and fruits are edible.

The main active ingredient in the leaves is triacanthin, which has been described as symptoms of poisoning such as cramps and respiratory and circulatory disorders. In fact, no poisoning has been reported from the leaves of the tree.

In the kitchen you can use the seeds and the seed pods, both are edible. The young seeds taste like raw peas and can also be roasted as a coffee substitute. The flesh of the young seed pods is sweet and can be eaten raw or made into a sweet drink.

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