Locust Trees

Trunk of a honey locust
Trunk of a honey locust
Black locust flowering
Black locust flowering

 

 

 

 

 

 

Locust Trees and Honeybees

The two main varieties of locust trees in Indiana are the honey locust, easily identified by the collection of thorns on the trunk, and the black locust, which boasts heavy loads of fragrant white flowers in the spring.

The honey locust is a minor nectar source, flowering in late spring/early summer. The flowers are pale green and small, often hiding among the leaves. The most distinctive characteristics of the honey locust are the thorns growing in clumps on the trunk and the flat, brown, twisted seed pod seen in the fall. The seed pods are several inches long.

Black locust originally was found on the eastern edge of America, but was transplanted by settlers as they worked their way across the land. Black locust wood is resistant to rot and was often planted as a fence row. The trunks of mature trees tend to develop rounded burls that are desired by wood carvers. Black locust trees have, in a good year, one 10 day long heavy nectar flow. One acre of black locust trees can produce between 800-1200 pounds of monofloral locust honey during this period. Bloom occurs mid-April into May, depending on weather.