Family - Fabaceae, pea family
Genus, species - Gleditsia triacanthos
Leaves are doubly compound. Leaflets are oblong, elliptical, about 1 inch long. Leaflet edges are sometimes wavy, usually smooth.
Bark is grayish-brown, fissured with long narrow ridges. Bark has stout spines, up to 8 inches long.
Flowers are greenish-yellow, bell-shaped with five petals, clustered at base of leaves.
Fruit is a long flat pod, 10 inches long, dark brown.
Twigs have long unpaired spines. In comparison, black locust twigs have shorter paired spines.
Seeds are flat, dark brown, beanlike, enclosed within pods.
The family name, Fabaceae, is from the Latin for "bean." The genus, Gleditsia, is named for Johann Gottlieb Gleditsch (1714-1786), a German botanist. The species name, triacanthos, is from the Latin for "three-spined."