This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Large thorny trees, with evenly once or twice pinnate leaves, small stipules, and small greenish polygamous flowers in slender axillary spicate racemes. Calyx campanulate, 3-5-cleft. Petals 3-5, equal, sessile, inserted at the summit of the calyx-tube. Stamens 3-10, distinct; anthers all alike, longitudinally dehiscent. Ovary rudimentary or none in the stami-nate flowers, in the fertile ones nearly sessile, elongated or ovoid. Ovules 2-00. Pod linear or oval, flat, nearly straight, or twisted at maturity, coriaceous, tardily dehiscent, 1-seeded or many-seeded, sometimes pulpy between the flat seeds. [In honor of J. T. Gleditsch, 1714-1786, German botanist, the name often spelled Gleditschia.]
About 6 species, natives of eastern North America and Asia. Besides the following, one occurs in Texas. Type species: Gleditsia triacanthos L.
Pod linear-oblong, elongated, many-seeded.
Pod obliquely oval, short, 1-seeded.
Gleditsia triacanthos L. Sp. Pl. 1056. 1753.
A large tree, with rough bark, maximum height about 1400 and trunk diameter 5 1/2°, usually armed with numerous stout branching or simple thorns. Leaves petioled, 1-2-pinnate; leaflets short-stalked, oblong-lanceolate or oval, obtuse at each end, inequilateral at the base, glabrous above, often pubescent on the veins beneath, crenulate, 8"-15" long; racemes solitary or clustered, slender, drooping, dense, 3'-5' long; flowers greenish, about 2" broad; pod linear-oblong, 1°-1 1/2° long, l'-l 1/2' wide, stalked, glabrous and shining, twisted, many-seeded, pulpy within, sometimes eaten.
In woods, western New York and Ontario to Michigan, Georgia, Kansas and Texas. Naturalized and extensively planted further east. Wood durable, bright brownish-red; weight per cubic foot 42 lbs. Pulp of the pod-sweet. May-July. Honey. Honey-shucks. Sweet-bean.
A tree, with maximum height of about 6o°, and trunk diameter of 2 1/2°, the thorns usually simple. Foliage similar to that of the preceding species, but the leaflets thicker, darker green, usually larger, ovate-lanceolate or lanceolate in outline, the margins more conspicuously crenulate; racemes drooping, elongated; pod obliquely oval, flat, glabrous, narrowed at each end, slender-stalked, l'-l 1/2' long, 9"-12" wide, 1 -seeded, not pulpy within.