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Fruit Trees With Thorns

By Sheri Ann Richerson ; Updated September 21, 2017
Thanks to the work of botanists, we no longer have to worry about growing fruit trees with thorns in our gardens.
trees in an orchard image by sharon hitman from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

There are many common fruit trees with thorns. While it is true that the thorns have been bred out of many fruit trees such as plums and pears, wild fruit trees still have thorns. Fruit trees grown in orchards do not need their thorns to protect them from being ravaged by pests the way trees growing in the wild do. However, there are still a few cultivated trees, such as lemons, that are a bit thorny.


Citrus trees have been hybrizided to produce larger fruits, but to this day, they still have thorns on them.
Lemon tree image by Timo de Looij from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Some of the most common fruit trees with thorns include lemons, limes and oranges. Even the varieties bred specifically for container culture have thorns. The thorns on these trees may or may not be noticeable, so when working around citrus trees, keep this mind so you do not accidently cut or prick your finger on them. Some varieties contain very few thorns, while others such as Poncirus trifoliata, 'Flying Dragon,' an orange tree hardy to USDA zone 5, is loaded with them. This particular variety, although older, is still available for purchase. It’s most common use, however, is as rootstock for other types of dwarf citrus.

Honey Locust

The honey locust fruit can be found inside the seed pods.
tamarins avec et sans coques image by Unclesam from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

The common honey locust, which is easily propagated by seed, is quite thorny. The thorns of this plant can cause numerous problems if grown in the landscape. The thorns are large enough to pierce tires or go through your foot. The edible fruit, which is found inside the seed pod, was once used as a sweetener. The use of the honey locust fruit as a sweetener is not as popular today as it once was, so for the most part, the fruit is left on the trees where it is enjoyed by deer and small mammals. Hardy to USDA zone 4, there are thornless varieties available that will do well in the landscape.

Wild Apple

When choosing an apple variety for your garden, check with your local extension agent to see what varieties do the best in your location.
Apple-tree image by zalisa from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Modern apple trees that have been hybridized for use in the landscape or in orchards do not have thorns. To see apple fruit trees with thorns, it is necessary to look in the wild. Older apple trees growing in forests or other protected areas are likely to have thorns. Apples are a popular fruit and you may be tempted to start some from seed. Apples grown from seed will not produce the same type of fruit that you ate. In fact, the fruit the tree produces may be inedible, not to mention you run the risk of growing a tree that may have thorns on it.


About the Author


Sheri Ann Richerson is a nationally acclaimed bestselling author who has been writing professionally since 1981. Her bestselling books include "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Year-Round Gardening," "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Seed Saving & Starting" and "101 Self-Sufficiency Gardening Tips." Richerson attended Ball State University and Huntington University, where she majored in communications and minored in theatrical arts.