Sunburst Honey Locust

Gleditsia triacanthos

There are three Sunburst honey locusts in the Park, one each in the northwest, east, and northeast triangles. See Wikipedia entry here.
Sunburst honey locust in northwest triangle
Honey locust factoids:
  • The species name triacanthos derives from the fact that most honey locusts have thorns (acanthos) in groups of three or more (tri) running up the trunk and branches. Thornless varieties like ours are available.
  • The term honey in the common name derives from the sweet tasting seed pods. These pea-like pods are eaten by animals and were used as sweeteners in Native American foods.
  • The Sunburst honey locust is a deciduous tree, with compound leaves (multiple leaves on one stem) that turn bright yellow in autumn.
  • These trees have a fairly open canopy, unlike the maples for example.
  • They are "polygamodioecious" trees. This means that each honeylocust tree has either male or female flowers, but each tree also produces some "perfect" flowers that have both male and female parts. 
    "Podless" honeylocust trees selected and marketed by nurseries are male trees that tend to produce few perfect flowers. See page on red maples for more on tree reproduction organs.
Speading branches of the sunburst honey locust in east triangle
Sunburst honey locust in northeast triangle

Matthias Baldwin Park 

423 N 19th St 

Philadelphia, PA 19130

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