The Honey Locust: genus Gleditsia
Scientific Name: Gleditsia triacanthos (gled·IT·see·uh try·uh·CANTH·oas). Named for botanist Gleditsch. Triacanthos is Greek for "three thorned".
Common Name: Honey locust.
Family: Caesalpiniaceae (CEASE·al·PIN·ee·AY·see·ee)
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.
Buds:
Distinctive Characteristics: Fruit, thorns, flowers, bark, leaves.
Distribution: Native to the Ohio Valley, currently the Honey Locust is widely planted as a street tree.
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 wicked looking.
The Kentucky Coffe Tree: genus Gymnocladus
Scientific Name: Gymnocladus dioicus (jim·KNOCK·clah·duss dye·oh·EYE·cuss)
Common Name: Kentucky coffeetree
Family: Caesalpiniaceae (CEASE·al·PIN·ee·AY·see·ee)
Bark: Light grey, ridged.
Buds:
Distinctive Characteristics: Fruits.
Distribution: Cultivated.
Flowers:
Fruit: Short thick-skinned pods.
Habit:
Habitat:
Leaves: Doubly-pinnate, with ovate leaflets.
Similar trees
Twigs: Stout.
The Silverbells: genus Halesia
Scientific Name: Halesia
Common Name:
Family:
Bark:
Buds:
Distinctive Characteristics: Flowers. Fruits.
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.
Flowers:
Fruit:
Habit:
Habitat:
Leaves:
Similar trees
Twigs:
Hollies, winterberries genus Ilex /Eye·lex/
Scientific Name: Ilex opaca (EYE·lex owe·PAY·kuh)
Common Name:Holly
Family:
Bark:
Buds: Buds very small.
Distinctive Characteristics: Leaves.
Distribution:
Flowers:
Fruit:
Habit:
Habitat:
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.
Similar trees
Twigs: Sparsly downy.

Walnuts, Butternuts, &c.: genus Juglans
Scientific Name: Juglans nigra (JOOG·lanz NIGH·gruh). Nigra is the feminine Latin adjective for black.
Common Name: Black walnut.
Family: Juglandaceae.
Bark:
Buds:
Distinctive Characteristics:
Distribution: Native to this area.
Flowers:
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!
Habit:
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, Gymnocladus dioica.
Twigs:
Red Cedar: genus Juniperus
Scientific Name: Juniperus virginiana (jew·NIP·er·us virgin·ee·YAY·nuh) "Virginian juniper"
Common Name: Red Cedar, Savin.
Family: Cupressaceae (formerly Pinaceae)
Bark: Thin, medium brown, with loose strips on surface. Wood is fragrant, heartwood is reddish.
Buds:
Distinctive Characteristics: Shape and leaves.
Distribution: Native. Not cultivated very much (cf. Thuja).
Flowers:
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 juniper).
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 (Thuja).
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 leaves.
Similar trees Thuja, other junipers, Chaemacyparis resemble this tree. Other members of Juniperus are shrubs. Thuja and Chaemacyparis have leaves in flattened sprays.
Twigs:
Goldenrain Tree: genus Koelreuteria
Scientific Name: Koelreuteria paniculata (coal·rue·TEE·ree·ah pan·ICK·yew·LAY·tah)
Common Name:Paniculate Goldenrain Tree
Family:
Bark:
Buds:
Distinctive Characteristics:
Distribution:
Flowers:
Fruit:
Habit:
Habitat:
Leaves:
Similar trees
Twigs:
Copyright © 1989, 1997, 2005 Brian Laurence Hughes
Last modified: 2005 Mar 19 at 20:31 EST

Valid HTML 4.0!