Many varieties of locust grow in the U.S., with honey locust and black locust being most common. Honey locust has pods that contain edible seeds, while the pods of other locust tree varieties are primarily for reproductive use.
Honey Locust Pods
Honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) grows up to 80 feet tall. Its pods are flat and shaped like a strap. Lime color in the summer and and reddish-brown in the fall, the pods are 12 to 18 inches long and contain 12 to 14 seeds. The pods are eaten by many animals, including deer, cattle, squirrels, rabbits and birds.
Black Locust Pods
Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) is a medium-size tree that grows up to 80 feet tall. Its pods are dark brown and approximately 4 inches long. They stay attached to the tree during winter. Each pod has up to 14 seeds, which are poisonous to humans.
Other Locust Pods
New Mexican locust (Robinia neomexicana) is a small tree that reaches approximately 25 feet tall. It has flat, brown pods 2 to 4 inches long that are covered in gland-tipped hairs. Bristly locust (Robinia hispida) grows to a height of approximately 8 feet and has flat, bristly pods that are 2 to 2-1/2 inches long.
- Fairfax County Public Schools: Black Locust
- Utah State Univeristy Cooperative Extension: How to Plant and Take Care of Your Honeylocust Tree; Dr. Mike Kuhns
- Ohio Department of Natural Resources: Ohio Trees-Honeylocust
- United States Department of Agriculture: Plant Guide-Honey Locust
- Virginia Tech: Bristly Locust
- Virginia Tech: New Mexican Kocust