Honey Locust
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Honey Locust
ntroduced Photo: Thingnam Sophia
Common name: Honey Locust • Manipuri: ꯀꯤꯌꯥꯝꯂꯩ কিযাম লৈ Kiyamlei
Botanical name: Gleditsia triacanthos    Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)

Native to North America, Honey locust is a medium sized deciduous tree with black bark, and branches growing zigzag. It can be seen planted in Manipur. It is easily identified by its pinnate leaves and large thorns. The trunk and larger branches are full of stout, rigid, branched thorns 7-20 in long. Honeylocust usually stands around 40-80 ft tall and has an open plume-like crown of divided leaves that spreads 20-30 ft across. In its native habitat, it can be 140 ft tall and have trunks 6 ft in diameter. Honeylocust leaves are compound and sometimes double compound, 7-8 in long, and divided into a hundred or more 1 in oval leaflets. The fragrant greenish yellow flowers hang in small, inconspicuous clusters in early summer. The seeds are borne in pods which are dark purplish brown, flat and corkscrew twisted, 10-18 in long and about 1 in wide. The pods frequently persist on the tree after leaf fall into early winter. The seeds resemble oval bean seeds and are surrounded within the pods by a sweet and juicy pulp. Despite its name, Honey locust is not a significant honey plant. The name derives from the sweet taste of the legume pulp, which was used for food by Native American people, and can also be fermented to make beer. Flowering: April-June.

Identification credit: Thingnam Sophia Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.

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