Honey locust produces large, protein and sugar filled medicinal seed pods. Our seeds come from one of the best collections of honey locust trees in the country. All the parent trees are thornless grafted varieties, chosen for their seed pod production. The known cultivars where we collect include Hershey, Millwood, and Calhoun. The honey locust has an immense potential as a forage crop for livestock, providing both ample protein and carbohydrates. With the pods of some varieties containing 38.9% sugar (by comparison, maple sap is about 2% sugar), it’s a wonder that an industry to turn the abundant pods into a commercially available sweetener hasn’t emerged. The pods are also a viable alternative to malted barley in beer brewing. Part of adapting to climate change will be adapting our tastes to accept plants that produce with less maintenance, and produce abundantly without tillage. Honey Locust is a tree we’re looking forward to getting accustomed to.
While our seedlings come from grafted thornless trees, they may have small thorns for the first couple years as a means to protect themselves from predators. It is likely that the thorns will fall off with age, and if they don’t they would be great candidates for top working scion wood from a known variety. Lookout for grafts in coming years!