trees with banana shaped seed pods

Trees with banana shaped seed pods

Description: This tree is 50-100′ tall at maturity, forming a single trunk about 2-3Ѕ’ across and an open plume-like crown that is somewhat flattened at its apex. Trunk bark of mature trees is light gray to gray-black and divided into large flat plates with upturned margins; these plates are slightly scaly and they are separated by shallow furrows. The bark of branches and twigs is more smooth, brown, and hairless, while young shoots are light green and pubescent. Alternate compound leaves occur along the twigs and young shoots. These leaves are evenly pinnate or bipinnate and 6-14″ long. Pinnate leaves have 5-11 pairs of simple leaflets, while bipinnate leaves have 4-7 pairs of pinnate leaves that are each divided into 5-11 pairs of simple leaflets. There are no terminal leaflets. The rachis of each compound leaf is light green and pubescent. The leaflets are ѕ-1Ѕ” long and about 1/3 as much across; they are oblong to lanceolate-oblong and slightly crenate along their margins. The upper surface of the leaflets is yellowish green to dark green and hairless, while the lower surface is more pale and either hairless or minutely hairy. The leaflets have very short petiolules (basal stalklets) that are less than 1/8″ (3 mm.) long. Along the trunk, there are usually both simple and branched thorns up to 8″ long; there are also simple and tripartite thorns along the lower branches. However, there is also a thornless variety (var. inermis ) of Honey Locust that is uncommon in the wild, although often cultivated.

Cultivation: This adaptable tree prefers full to partial sunlight and moist to dry-mesic conditions. It will flourish in almost any type of soil (pH range 6.0-8.0) if it is not too acidic. Both temporary flooding and hot dry weather are tolerated. The root system doesn’t fix nitrogen in the soil. New trees can be propagated by seeds or vegetatively by cuttings. Growth and development is fairly fast; young trees can produce seedpods in as little as 10 years. Longevity of healthy trees is typically 100-150 years. One of the advantages of Honey Locust as a landscape tree is the light shade that is cast by its open crown; this allows the survival of turfgrass and other plants.

Range & Habitat: The native Honey Locust has been found in almost every county of Illinois; it is common. Habitats include upland woodlands, bottomland woodlands, woodland openings, woodland borders, powerline clearances in wooded areas, savannas, edges of limestone glades, thickets, fence rows, pastures, and roadsides. This tree colonizes disturbed areas that are relatively open; it is intolerant of shade. Because of the thin bark, Honey Locust is vulnerable to wildfires. The thornless variety of this tree is often cultivated as a landscape plant; it often escapes in both urban and suburban areas.

Faunal Associations: The flowers are cross-pollinated primarily by small bees and flies. Both nectar and pollen are available as floral rewards to such visitors. The caterpillars of Epargyreus clarus (Silver-Spotted Skipper) feed on the foliage of Honey Locust. Several moth caterpillars prefer this tree as a host plant: Catocala illecta (Magdalen Underwing), Catocala innubens (The Betrothed), Catocala minuta (Little Underwing), Spiloloma lunilinea (Moon-Lined Moth), Sphingicampa bicolor (Honey Locust Moth), and Sphingicampa bisecta (Bisected Honey Locust Moth). Several leafhopper species also prefer this tree as a host plant: Erythridula aenea , Erythridula brundusa , Erythridula clavata , Erythridula diffusa , Erythridula gleditsia , and Macropsis fumipennis (Honey Locust Leafhopper). Other insect feeders include the treehopper Micrutalis clava , Diaphnocoris chlorionis (Honey Locust Plant Bug) and other plant bugs, Anomoea flavokansiensis and other leaf beetles, the larvae of Agrilus difficilis (Honey Locust Borer) and other wood-boring beetles, the larvae of the seed weevil Amblycerus robiniae , and the larvae of Dasineura gleditchiae (Honey Locust Pod-Gall Midge). See the Insect Table for a more complete listing of the invertebrate species that feed on this tree. Some mammals and birds also use Honey Locust as a source of food. The seedpods with their edible sweet pulp are eaten by cattle, sheep, goats, deer, opossums, tree squirrels, crows, starlings, and Bobwhite quail. It is thought that some extinct megafauna of the ice age, including the American Mastodon, also ate these seedpods and helped to distribute the seeds into new areas. Cattle, deer, rabbits, and groundhogs browse on the foliage of seedlings, saplings, or the lower limbs of trees; rabbits also gnaw on the bark of young trees during the winter.

Photographic Location: Busey Woods and other locations in Urbana, Illinois.

Trees with banana shaped seed pods Description: This tree is 50-100′ tall at maturity, forming a single trunk about 2-3Ѕ’ across and an open plume-like crown that is somewhat flattened at its

Honey locust

Origin: Eastern North America (native in Ontario)


Tree image title.

Honey locust is a medium-sized tree with angular branches and light, feathery foliage.


Leaves are pinnately compound (some doubly pinnate) with 18 – 30 small leaflets. There is no leaflet at the tip.


Flowers are greenish-white and very small, borne in inconspicuous clusters.


Fruits are reddish-brown, flattened, twisted pods.


Honey locust is a medium-sized tree with angular branches, a broad, flat-topped crown, and light, feathery foliage. It can grow up to 30 m (98′).

Honey locust in winter has a distinctly angular appearance.

Bark on young trees is smooth and brown with horizontal pores (lenticels) and some peeling.

On older trees, bark has deep furrows and scaly ridges.

Twigs are zig-zagged and brown with short shoots that bear leaves and flowers.

Buds are small and mostly hidden beneath the bark.

Wild or uncultivated varieties may have smooth, reddish, branched thorns on the trunk and stems.


Leaves are pinnately compound with 18 – 30 oval leaflets on a central stalk 15 – 30 cm (6″ – 12″) long. There is no leaflet at the tip. Leaflets are 2.5 – 5 cm (1″ – 2″) long.

Late-season leaves may be twice pinnate (doubly compound).

Leaves on new long shoots are arranged alternately on the branch as are clusters of early leaves on short shoots.

In fall, leaves turn yellow or yellow-green.


Flowers are borne in clusters, with separate male and female flowers sometimes on separate trees. The dense male flower clusters are about 5 – 7 cm (2″ – 2 3/4″) long.

Female flower clusters, consisting of only a few inconspicuous, loosely grouped flowers, are about 7 – 9 cm (2 3/4″ – 3 1/2″) long.

The tiny flowers have 5 greenish petals.

The flowers appear in May or June as the leaves unfold. Their fragrance attracts insect pollinators.


Fruits are flattened, twisted seed pods, about 15 – 40 cm (6″ – 15 3/4″) long, and pale-green until mature.

Pods mature to reddish-brown in the late summer and fall.

Each pod contains about 10 to 22 brown seeds, each 1 cm (3/8″) long.

Pods drop without opening in the winter, but some may remain on the tree.



Wild honey locust is rare in Canada, occurring only in extreme southwestern Ontario. However, honey locust is cultivated well beyond this range and has become naturalized in certain locales. Honey locust may have been planted by early settlers to attract bees to make honey. Its hardiness and tolerance of drought make it a resilient urban tree.

Derivation of names

The genus name, Gleditsia, commemorates the German botanist Johann Gottlieb Gleditsch (1714-1786), who was a professor and the director of the Berlin Botanic Garden. The species name triacanthos means three-horned, in reference to the wild trees’ often three-pronged thorns. Triacanthos is derived from the Greek words treis, meaning three, and akantha, meaning spine. ‘Honey’ locust refers to a sweet substance that is found in the tree’s seed pods. ‘Locust’ is thought to have been applied to honey locust and other pod-bearing trees of North America by early colonists, inspired by the story of John the Baptist, who survived in the wilderness by eating the fruit of pod-bearing carob or locust trees.

Human use

The wood of honey locust is fairly brittle but has been used for making fence posts and furniture. The thorns have been used to make nails and pins, and according to legend, Confederate soldiers in the US Civil War used them to pin their damaged uniforms. The sweet substance from the pods has been used in beer brewing, and was eaten by indigenous North Americans.

Wildlife value

The seeds and pods are also a source of food for various animals and birds, including cattle, white-tailed deer, and squirrels. Bees are attracted to the fragrant flowers.

Honey locust IN TORONTO

Honey locust’s place in Toronto’s urban Forest

Honey locust is now a commonly planted tree on Toronto’s streets, and can be seen especially in newer neighbourhoods. Honey locust is a preferred urban tree because it is highly tolerant of salt pollution and drought.

Landscape value and potential for home use

Honey locust is valued as a landscape tree for its open crown and the light shade that it casts. It grows best on rich, moist soils in sunny sites but will likely not reach its maximum height in most urban conditions. Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis is a naturally occurring thornless variety (inermis = unarmed) that has been cultivated for urban planting, and bred for other visual characteristics, such as growth habit and leaf colour.

Pests and diseases: Honey locust is usually not vulnerable to fatal pests or diseases, but there are many damaging agents that may affect it. Most of the problems associated with honey locust result from insects feeding on the leaves.

Honey locust Origin: Eastern North America (native in Ontario) TREE, BARK, TWIGS Tree image title. Honey locust is a medium-sized tree with angular branches and light, feathery foliage.