Honey locust

Gleditsia triacanthos var inermis 'Shademaster' (Thornless Honey Locust)

Gleditsia triacanthos or honey locust has some features that are desirable for city and suburban gardens--it has small leaflets that don't need raking when they fall and the tree casts a light shade that grass will grow under.  The wild species generally produces formidable thorns, but occasionally a form without thorns is found--this is called variety inermis (which is Latin for thornless).  As a legume, this tree produces large bean-like pods with seeds, and because they are messy, horticulturalists have further selected for varieties that don't make many seeds.  "Shademaster" is one such variety.  So this tree is sterile and reproduced commercially by cuttings.  In general we would prefer to plant trees that make seeds, but we have planted this near the paved trail, where its lack of seeds will be is a desirable feature.  This cultivar  does have flowers, which produce nectar and are attractive to bees. This particular cultivar also has a more upright growth form than some and like the straight species, it is very tolerant of pollution, poor soil and other difficult growing conditions.  Thus it has been extensively used in parks, roof gardens, industrial areas, and large gardens.