Black locust has compound leaves, thorns, and fragrant white flowers. Honey locust has pinnate leaves, no thorns, and long, twisted pods.

TL;DR Black Locust Trees Vs. Honey Locust Trees

Black locust trees are known for their strong wood, low maintenance requirements, and ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. They are often used for landscaping purposes due to their attractive flowers and dense foliage. Additionally, black locust trees have thorns that serve as a defense mechanism against browsing animals.

Honey locust trees are prized for their delicate leaves, ornamental seed pods, and tolerance to various soil conditions. They offer shade with less density than black locusts but still create a pleasant environment in parks or residential yards. Honey locust trees do not possess thorns like their counterparts.

Characteristics of Black Locust Trees

picture of black locust trees

Black locust trees, scientifically known as Robinia pseudoacacia, are native to the eastern United States. These medium-sized deciduous trees can reach heights of up to 60 feet and have an attractive, symmetrical shape with a narrow crown. One distinguishing feature of black locust trees is their deeply furrowed bark that ranges in color from grayish-brown to dark brown.

The leaves of black locusts are pinnately compound and composed of multiple leaflets arranged along a central stem. Each leaflet is oval-shaped with a smooth margin and measures around 1-2 inches in length.

In the springtime, black locusts showcase clusters of fragrant white flowers that give off a sweet aroma. These showy blossoms not only add aesthetic appeal but also attract bees for pollination purposes.

When it comes to fruit production, black locust trees produce long seed pods that contain small brown seeds. These seeds serve as a food source for various wildlife species such as birds and squirrels.

One fascinating characteristic of black locust trees is their ability to fix nitrogen in the soil through nodules on their roots. This process enhances soil fertility and benefits other plants growing nearby.

Black locust trees offer an impressive combination of beauty and practicality with their distinctive bark pattern, elegant foliage, fragrant blooms, seed production for wildlife nourishment, and soil enriching capabilities through nitrogen fixation.

Characteristics of Honey Locust Trees

picture of honey locust tree

Honey locust trees, with their elegant and graceful appearance, are a sight to behold. These deciduous trees can reach impressive heights of up to 100 feet, making them towering giants in the forest. The branches of honey locust trees spread out in an irregular manner, creating a delightful canopy that provides shade during hot summer days.

One distinguishing feature of honey locust trees is their long compound leaves. Each leaf consists of numerous small leaflets arranged along a central stalk. These delicate leaflets create a feathery look that adds to the tree’s overall beauty.

Another notable characteristic of honey locusts is their thorny nature. The trunk and branches are adorned with sharp thorns which serve as protection against herbivores and provide support for climbing plants like ivy or vines.

The flowers of honey locust trees bloom in late spring or early summer, forming clusters of fragrant yellow-green blossoms. These flowers attract bees and other pollinators, contributing to the ecosystem by promoting cross-pollination and fruit production.

In autumn, honey locusts put on an enchanting display as their leaves turn vibrant shades of yellow before gracefully falling to the ground. This seasonal change adds warmth and richness to any landscape.

Honey locust trees possess unique characteristics that make them stand out among other tree species. From their tall stature to their thorny bark and lovely foliage transformations throughout the year – these majestic creatures truly deserve our admiration!

Black Locust Trees Vs. Honey Locust Trees – Key differences

AspectBlack Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
Leaf TypePinnately compound leaves with 7-19 leaflets per leaf.Bipinnately compound leaves with numerous tiny leaflets.
ThornsTypically has thorns, which can be quite sharp, especially on young trees.Usually thornless, although some cultivars may have small thorns.
FlowersClusters of fragrant white flowers with a yellow spot on the petals.Greenish-yellow, fragrant flowers in long, pendulous clusters.
Pods or Seed PodsDark brown to black, leathery pods with 4-8 seeds.Long, twisted, brownish-red pods that contain sweet pulp and seeds.
Leaflet ArrangementAlternately arranged leaflets along the compound leaf stalk.Bipinnately arranged, giving the leaves a more delicate appearance.
Growth RateRapid growth, with the ability to become invasive in some regions.Moderately fast growth rate, but less aggressive than black locust.
BarkDark and deeply furrowed, with rough, ridged texture.Light gray to brown, with shallow furrows and prominent, curved ridges.
Tolerance to PollutionHighly tolerant of pollution and often used for urban planting.Moderately tolerant of pollution but less commonly used in urban areas.
Timber and Wood QualityKnown for durable, rot-resistant wood, used in construction and woodworking.Wood is less durable and not as commonly used for construction.
Common UsesTimber, posts, firewood, and erosion control.Shade tree, ornamental tree, and occasionally used for timber.
AllergenicityThe pollen of black locust may trigger allergies in some individuals.Honey locust is not typically considered a significant allergen.
Geographic DistributionNative to the southeastern United States but has been widely planted and naturalized.Native to eastern and central North America.


Image Credits

Featured Image By – Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Image 1 By – Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Image 2 By – Wil540 art, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons


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