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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Fabales

Familia: Fabaceae
Subfamilia: Caesalpinioideae
Tribus: Caesalpinieae
Genus: Gleditsia
Species: G. amorphoides – G. aquatica – G. assamica – G. australis – G. caspica – G. fera – G. japonica – G. medogensis – G. microphylla – G. rolfei – G. sinensis – G. × texana – G. triacanthos – †G. pliocaenica
Source(s) of checklist:

Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Gleditsia in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2020 Jul 18. Reference page.


Gleditsia L., 1753

Garugandra Griseb.
Asacara Raf.
Caesalpiniodes Kuntze
Melilobus Mitch.
Pogocybe Pierre

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Caucasus to Japan, Central Malesia, U.S.A. to N. Mexico, Bolivia to N. Argentina.

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species plantarum, exhibentes plantas rite cognitas, ad genera relatas, cum differentiis specificis, nominibus trivialibus, synonymis selectis, locis natalibus, secundum systema sexuale digestas. Tomus II. Pp. 561–1200, [1–30, index], [1, err.]. Impensis Laurentii Salvii, Holmiae [Stockholm]. BHL Reference page. : 1056.


Hassler, M. 2020. Gleditsia. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2020. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2020 Jul 18. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2020. Gleditsia. Published online. Accessed: Jul 18 2020.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Gleditsia in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2020 Jul 18. Reference page. 2020. Gleditsia. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 18 Jul 2020.

Vernacular names
Esperanto: Glediĉio
suomi: Kolmioat
Türkçe: Yabani keçiboynuzu
українська: Гледичія

Gleditsia /ɡlɪˈdɪtsiə/[1] (honey locust) is a genus of trees in the family Fabaceae, subfamily Caesalpinioideae, native to North America and Asia. The Latin name commemorates Johann Gottlieb Gleditsch, director of the Berlin Botanical Garden, who died in 1786.


There are 12 species:

Gleditsia amorphoides (Griseb.) Taubert
Gleditsia aquatica Marshall – water locust or swamp locust
Gleditsia assamica Bor
Gleditsia australis F. B. Forbes & Hemsley
Gleditsia caspica Desf. – Caspian locust or Persian honeylocust
Gleditsia fera (Lour.) Merr.
Gleditsia japonica Miq. – Japanese honey locust
Gleditsia medogensis Z.C.Ni
Gleditsia microphylla D.Gordon ex Y.T.Lee
Gleditsia rolfei S.Vidal
Gleditsia sinensis Lam. – Chinese honey locust
Gleditsia triacanthos L. – thorny honey locust


Gleditsia × texana Sarg. – Texas honey locust (=G. aquatica × triacanthos)

All the species are woody except for G. microphylla.[2] Their ability to fix nitrogen is debated; see Honey locust § Nitrogen fixation.
Range and Taxonomy

Gleditsia is found in East Asia, on the East Coast of the Americas, and in South America; small populations of certain species also exist around the Caspian Sea (G. caspica) and India (G. assamica). There are native species to all these regions. The theory is that Gleditsia originated in East Asia in the Eocene, crossed the land bridge across the North Pacific Ocean into North America, and then spread down to South America millions of years later.[3] Gymnocladus is a sister genus of Gleditsia, and it too mimicked this dispersion pattern, except it came to the Americas much earlier.[3] Though there are no extant European Gleditsia species, there are fossils found in Europe which could mean that the genus also crossed the North Atlantic land bridge.[4]

Certain Gleditsia species are in clades with species from other continents; an example is G. caspica (from the Caucusus), G. delavayi, and G. japonica (both from Asia), who are in a clade together.[3] Gleditsia amorphoides is the most basal of the genus, most closely related to G. sinensis but not the North American species (G. aquatica and G. triacanthos).[3]

Medicinal use

Gleditsia sinensis is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in Chinese herbology, where it is called zào jiá (皂荚).

Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
Schnabel, Andrew; Wendel, Jonathan F. (1998). "Cladistic biogeography of Gleditsia (Leguminosae) based on ndhF and rpl16 chloroplast gene sequences". American Journal of Botany. 85 (12): 1753–1765. doi:10.2307/2446510. ISSN 1537-2197.
Schnabel, Andrew; McDonel, Patrick E.; Wendel, Jonathan F. (2003). "Phylogenetic relationships in Gleditsia (Leguminosae) based on ITS sequences". American Journal of Botany. 90 (2): 310–320. doi:10.3732/ajb.90.2.310. ISSN 1537-2197.

Saghatelyan, A.A. (2017-11-29). "Phytogeographical relationships and analysis of the flora of South Texas Plains". Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas. 11 (2): 527–561. doi:10.17348/jbrit.v11.i2.1090. ISSN 2644-1608.


Philips, Roger. (1979). Trees of North America and Europe, Random House, Inc., New York ISBN 0-394-50259-0.

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