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Devil's Walkingstick

(Aug. 2012)

QuestionI am hoping you can identify a tree by description without a picture. This tree has thorns on the truck and branches. We saw this in the wooded area just as you cross over the Two Rivers Bridge over the Arkansas River. I have never seen a tree of this size with thorns.


AnswerMy guess would be a honey locust - Gleditsia triacanthos. They have compound leaves with a lot of small leaflets on them, and the trunk and branches can have some deadly thorns. They can form a large shade tree, but the thorniness is the reason most home gardeners don’t want them in their yard. Plant breeders have bred a thornless variety which has good fall color and makes a good yard tree. A smaller tree that is native, and is covered in thorns is the Devil’s Walkingstick – Aralia spinosa.

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