Fabaceae Lindl.

Gleditsia L.

This genus is accepted, and its native range is Caucasus to Japan, Central Malesia, W. Central & E. U.S.A. to N. Mexico, Bolivia to N. Argentina.


Legumes of the World. Edited by G. Lewis, B. Schrire, B. MacKinder & M. Lock. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. (2005)

Trees (and 1 sp. a shrub)
Temperate and subtropical dry woodland and thicket on sandy and rocky slopes, lowland wet forest and swamp forest
2-3 in E North America (of which 1 also recorded from Tamaulipas in Mexico), 1 in S South America (N Argentina and adjacent Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil), 1 (or subsp.) around the Caspian Sea, 1 from NE India, 1 in Malesia (Philippines and Sulawesi [Celebes]), 7-9 in Asia (from E, C and SW China to Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand)
A dioecious genus; placed in the Gleditsia group together with the genus Gymnocladus by Polhill & Vidal (1981) and Polhill (1994), a relationship confirmed by the molecular analyses of Kajita et al. (2001), Bruneau et al. (2001)and the combined molecular-morphological analysis of Herendeen et al. (2003a), (see notes under Gymnocladus); c. 40 extinct Gleditsia or Gleditsia-like spp. have been reported in the fossil literature extending the historical range of the genus into Europe and W North America. The molecular-biogeographical studies of Schnabel & Wendel (1998) and Schnabel et al. (2003) concluded that there is only a single Asian-N American disjunction within the genus, no Asian-American species pairs, and an unusual Asian-S American disjunction

Gleditsia triacanthos L. (honey locust) is widely cultivated as an ornamental, also used in agroforestry (excellent source of animal fodder), for soil reclamation, timber (fence posts, construction and railway ties, the Cherokee Indians of Tennessee allegedly used the wood to make bows), edible fruit pulp (used in folk beers), thorns (as needles and for carding wool, and tied to sticks for hunting bullfrogs); soap (fruits of some species rich in saponins and used as soap substitutes in China, Japan and Indochina), bee forage (honey) and medicine

Doubtfully present in:

Hainan, Qinghai

Native to:

Alabama, Argentina Northeast, Argentina Northwest, Arizona, Arkansas, Assam, Bolivia, Brazil South, China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, Connecticut, Delaware, East Himalaya, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iran, Japan, Kansas, Kentucky, Korea, Laos, Louisiana, Maine, Manchuria, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Paraguay, Pennsylvania, Philippines, Rhode I., South Carolina, South Dakota, Sulawesi, Taiwan, Tennessee, Texas, Thailand, Tibet, Transcaucasus, Uruguay, Utah, Vermont, Vietnam, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Introduced into:

Austria, Baltic States, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cape Provinces, Central European Rus, Colorado, Czechoslovakia, France, Free State, Germany, Hungary, India, Iraq, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kirgizstan, Krym, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, Mexico Southwest, Mozambique, New Caledonia, New Mexico, New South Wales, North Caucasus, Northern Provinces, Pakistan, Portugal, Queensland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Australia, South European Russi, Spain, Tadzhikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Victoria, West Himalaya, Zimbabwe

Gleditsia L. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Sp. Pl.: 1056 (1753)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Seed Plants Database in ACCESS G: 1-40325.

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Legumes of the World Online