What kind of locust?

edlincoln(6A)October 17, 2013

My parents have what I think is a locust tree in their yard. It has been trying to spread by suckering. Can you tell if it is a Black Locust or a Honey Locust? I've never seen seeds, pods, or flowers on it.

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Here is one of it's saplings.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 9:10AM
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Let's see mama tree :-)) Looks much more like gleditsia than robinia but I wouldn't even like to confirm that without seeing the parent. If gleditsia, I would have thought seeds pods to be present in some form on a tree mature enough to sucker..........

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 6:23PM
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The mamma tree is leggy, tallish, and older then I am. Never had a seed pod that I could see.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 11:58PM
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Yes, Gleditisia, more so than Robinia. I consider them weeds. YMMV. Also FWIW, seedling-grown specimens of honeylocust can often "revert" to species form, with the most forbiddingly huge thorns in nature (As far as I've ever seen). But also, seem to be much hardier, longer-lived than the cultivars, not so prone to nectria canker, etc.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 9:08AM
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This is a picture of the "mamma" tree.

I don't consider any native tree that looks vaguely pretty a weed. The local conditions are terrible for trees, we've lost a lot. This one has survived a lot of abuse. If I can be sure this isn't the invasive black locust, I'll "rescue" and transplant some of the suckers onto the property lines and embankment. I don't care if they suddenly sprout thorns...they might actually be an advantage for these application.

NOTE: this tree does not have thorns.

Most of the articles I've read about the most likely candidates say they are brittle, but this tree has been exposed to a lot of wind and has never lost branches.

This post was edited by edlincoln on Thu, Oct 24, 13 at 23:31

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 11:19PM
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Yes, I agree with you Ed, despite my earlier pronouncement-depending on where you are, honeylocust can be a good tree. I just don't like to see it planted too far north of its true range, let alone seeing groves of invasive black locust getting started far north of where the species range was originally.

It does look more honeylocust to me in the whole-tree pic. What do the twig ends look like? Honeylocust has no visible buds this time of year, but neither does BL. Incidentally, bl. locust too has thorns, But they're much smaller than those which appear on wild honeylocust. Still sharp and tough to contend with, but again, not nearly the size of those on HL.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 9:30AM
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