Imperial Honey Lucust Tree facts

Asked June 22, 2016, 6:20 PM EDT

We are considering planting an Imperial Honey Lucust tree in our front yard in the city, What are the facts? Also we are looking for a decidious tree that will not grown over forty feet high. Thank you.

Minnehaha County South Dakota

1 Response

Here is information on the Imperial Honey Locust tree. Check with your local city for a tree list that will have information on tree shape and sized. Probably in Parks, Recreation, and Forestry.


This cultivar of Honeylocust is smaller than others, growing to 35 feet with a flat-topped, vase-shaped canopy. Branches emerge fairly low on the trunk and some training would be needed to force branches to clear tall vehicles along streets. The species has undesirable thorns on the trunk and main branches and large seed pods but this cultivar is thornless and usually fruitless. The tree is strong-wooded and casts light shade. Lawns grow fairly well beneath the tree and there is little to rake up in the fall since the tiny leaflets filter in between the blades of grass or are washed away in the rain. Honeylocust has a yellow or golden fall color in the northern part of its range. Trees often defoliate early in the south and are bare by October.

Figure 1.

Young Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis 'Imperial': 'Imperial' Thornless Honeylocust


Ed Gilman

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis
Pronunciation: gleh-DIT-see-uh try-uh-KANTH-oase variety ih-NER-miss
Common name(s): 'Imperial' Thornless Honeylocust
Family: Leguminosae
USDA hardiness zones: 4A through 8A (Fig. 2)
Origin: native to North America
Invasive potential: little invasive potential
Uses: street without sidewalk; shade; specimen; parking lot island 100-200 sq ft; parking lot island > 200 sq ft; sidewalk cutout (tree pit); tree lawn 4-6 feet wide; tree lawn > 6 ft wide; urban tolerant; highway median; reclamation