Common Name(s): Honey Locust
Scientific Name: Gleditsia triacanthos
Distribution: South-central and eastern United States
Tree Size: 65-80 ft (20-25 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1.0 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 47 lbs/ft3 (755 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .60, .75
Janka Hardness: 1,580 lbf (7,030 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 14,700 lbf/in2 (101.4 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,630,000 lbf/in2 (11.24 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 7,500 lbf/in2 (51.7 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 4.2%, Tangential: 6.6%, Volumetric: 10.8%, T/R Ratio: 1.6
Grain/Texture: Grain is usually straight or slightly irregular, with a medium uneven texture. Moderate natural luster.
Endgrain: Ring-porous; 3-5 rows of large earlywood pores, medium to very small latewood pores commonly arranged in tangential bands; tyloses absent, other reddish heartwood deposits occasionally present; growth rings distinct; rays visible without lens; parenchyma banded, paratracheal parenchyma vasicentric, and latewood is commonly aliform and confluent.
Rot Resistance: Rated as moderately durable to durable; susceptible to insect attacks.
Workability: Honey Locust can be difficult to work with hand and machine tools on account of its density, though it generally produces good results. Turns, glues, stains, and finishes well.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with Honey Locust. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Not widely or commonly available, limited quantities of Honey Locust are sometimes available within its natural range. Prices are likely to be in the mid to upper range for a domestic hardwood.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Furniture, fence posts, utility lumber, and turned objects.
Comments: Somewhat similar in appearance to Black Locust, Honey Locust is technically in a different genus, (Robinia and Gleditsia, respectively), and telling the two apart is somewhat similar to separating White and Red Oak—the pores of Black Locust are packed with tyloses, while they are absent in the pores of Honey Locust. Honey Locust bears a much closer resemblance to Kentucky Coffeetree, which is similar both in color, grain, and anatomy. The latewood pores of Coffeetree tend to be in circular clusters, while they are usually arranged in tangential bands in Honey Locust, being connected by confluent parenchyma.
A related species, Water Locust (Gleditsia aquatica), grows in swamps in the southeast United States, and has similar wood properties and anatomy.
Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Mike Leigher for providing the wood sample of this wood species.