Gleditsia triacanthos v. inermis
Fully thornless variety (or tendency to fewer thorns – note that as with any seed grown plant there can be variations) of this great shade and fodder tree from the pea and bean family. Deciduous, growing up to 20m. Slightly frost tender when young then very hardy. Sources conflict as to whether the tree fixes nitrogen or not. Thrives in hot dry locations, is tolerant of drought and atmospheric pollution. The seeds are valuable fodder for stock and chickens, but are also edible for humans. They can be used raw or cooked and can contain up to 30% sugar, tasting like raw peas. They have also been roasted and used as a coffee substitute. The whole young seed pods can be eaten raw when they are still tender and the pulp inside the seedpods is said to be sweet and can be eaten raw or made into sugar or fermented into beer.
Honey Locust also has medicinal uses – the pods have been made into a tea for the treatment of indigestion, measles and catarrh amongst other things. The juice of the pods is antiseptic. Current research is examining the leaves as a potential source of anticancer compounds. The wood of the tree is strong, coarse-grained and ground durable.
PB5. Approx 40 -50cm. Certified organic plant.