Every year honey locust seeds drift into my garden. I pull up dozens of the little trees. Some I reach for and find I have a handful of honey locust thorns.
Some seedlings come up armed with half inch needle thorns. Most do not. The grown trees are the same.
Somewhere I read that, although honey locust trees have both male and female flowers on them, some have more female ones. These are the ones covered with thorns. I’m skeptical.
The prize winner of the honey locust thorns was a whopping sixteen inches long. Most are half that. Those on twigs and small branches may be a mere two or three inches long.
Small thorns are generally a single barb pointing up. Longer thorns have side thorns on them. The small ones are the most dangerous.
Honey locust branches are easily broken off, especially when they are small. These barbed booby traps sink down into the grass. The thorns last for years, hard and sharp. Any foot or tire that goes over them may regret it.
On a honey locust trunk the thorns grow in clusters. The color varies. Old thorns weather into a dull grey. New thorns are shiny reddish brown. Others are intermediate.
Scattered clumps of short thorns adorn a honey locust trunk. Then a deer or a goat comes by and starts nibbling. The number and length of the thorns increases. Some trees end up with their trunks so lined with thorn clusters its hard to see the bark. It does deter the goats.
Why the interest in honey locust thorns? As I write “The Carduan Chronicles” I find these small aliens need to defend themselves and hunt for game. These thorns are ideal.
The thorns are hard, sharp, fairly easy to get, come in a variety of lengths. They will definitely discourage a predator that doesn’t want a mouthful of thorns. They can double as a spear to bring down small game animals. Then there are the various other uses: walking stick, digging stick, lever.
Honey locust thorns are very useful indeed.