Scientific Name: Gleditsia triacanthos
try·uh·CANTH·oas). Named for botanist
Gleditsch. Triacanthos is Greek for "three thorned".
Common Name: Honey locust.
Bark: Unlike the Black Locust
(Robinia pseudacacia), this tree does
have very dark bark. On older trees long vertical scales form,
with one margin upliftedin a vertical ridge.
Fruit, thorns, flowers, bark, leaves.
Distribution: Native to the Ohio
Valley, currently the Honey Locust is widely planted as a street
Flowers: Quite fragrant, but small and greenish.
Fruit: A rich brown, woody, strap-shaped pod, stiff and
spiralling. Peduncle 1" long, entire fruit (end to end, ignoring spiral), 6"
to 10" long. Seeds are brown, oval, stone hard. They are about 7 by 11 mm.
In winter winds the seeds rattle within the pod. There is a sweet-smelling
greenish pulp about the seeds before the fruits dry out.
Habit: Varies from almost acacia-like, to elm-like.
Twigs have a knotted look. Grows to be a large tree.
Habitat: Streets and lawns in this area.
Leaves: Alternate compound leaves (singly or, occasionly, doubly pinnate), about 8 inches long. Small, fine-toothed
leaflets are oblong, 2" long. Yellow in autumn.
Similar trees None comes to mind. The only confusing
thing about this tree is that of the two locusts, Black and Honey, it is this
one that is actually black.
Twigs: In its native Ohio
Valley, this tree bears thorns (modified twigs), but
cultivated varieties are often thornless. The thorns branch
and usually grow in clusters from the trunk.The dark, red
brown thorns are often over six inches long, and positively
Scientific Name: Gymnocladus
Common Name: Kentucky coffeetree
Bark: Light grey, ridged.
Distinctive Characteristics: Fruits.
Fruit: Short thick-skinned pods.
Leaves: Doubly-pinnate, with ovate leaflets.
Scientific Name: Halesia
Distribution: Cultivated. There
is are a couple in the yard of Quincy House at Harvard, and one
at the corner of Concord and Mass. Ave in Cambridge Common. Not
a common tree.
Scientific Name: Ilex opaca (EYE·lex
Buds: Buds very small.
Fruit: Red berries, eaten by robins.
Habitat: Near water.
Leaves: About 7 cm. long, dark
green, leathery, evergreen, with 1 cm. petiole. Alternate,
elliptical, with 9 or 11 very coarse teeth, each tipped with a
stiff, sharp spine. Very small, woody stipules.
Twigs: Sparsly downy.
Scientific Name: Juglans nigra (JOOG·lanz
NIGH·gruh). Nigra is the feminine Latin adjective for
Common Name: Black walnut.
Distribution: Native to this
Fruit: A spherical drupe, with a
leathery, textured skin, thin dry flesh that turns black (and
stains--watch out!), and a pit just like the walnuts in stores
(but much harder to break--I have torn door hinges out of the
wall try to crack one in between door and jamb). The fleshy
layer (and in fact much of the tree) has a strong, distinctive
odor. The fruit is 5 cm in diameter and 5-6 cm long. Excellent
for throwing, and hard enough to do damage!
Habitat: In cultivation. The
valuable wood has been the downfall of most wild trees.
Leaves: Once pinnate, usually
with an even number of leaflets.
Similar trees The other Juglans. In winter, Kentucky Coffeetree,
Scientific Name: Juniperus virginiana
virgin·ee·YAY·nuh) "Virginian juniper"
Common Name: Red Cedar, Savin.
Family: Cupressaceae (formerly
Bark: Thin, medium brown,
with loose strips on surface. Wood is fragrant, heartwood
Shape and leaves.
Not cultivated very much (cf. Thuja).
Cones: Covered with waxy flesh,
round (.25" diameter), blue-black, but appearing light blue
because of bloom. Have distinctive, piney aroma and taste,
similar to that of some gins (which are/were flavored with a
Habit: Columnar, tight form, with rounded base and sharp
top, short trunk.
Habitat: Common in sunny
woods, pastures, roadsides. A country plant. The cedars
commonly planted about suburban homes are White Cedars
Leaves: Leaves either
scale-like, or needle-like (1/3" long). Upper side of needle has double white
row, but upper side is not normally exposed. Look, and
you'll see what I mean! But most trees only have scaly
Similar trees Thuja, other junipers, Chaemacyparis resemble this tree.
Other members of Juniperus are
shrubs. Thuja and Chaemacyparis have leaves in flattened
Scientific Name: Koelreuteria paniculata
Name:Paniculate Goldenrain Tree