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Black & Honey Locust Tree Thorns: Are They Poisonous?

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Both the honey locust and the black locust are the species of your garden. Have you met them before in your garden? You sure have. But the catch is their thorns might be poisonous for you. As a result, gardeners need to keep an extra eye on that.

Black & honey locust tree thorns

Both black and honey locust tree thorns are harmful to some extent – the main difference lies in their level of toxicity. Black locusts have thorns that are terribly poisonous and harm your child or pet severely. On the other hand, honey locust ones are not as toxic, though they take time to heal.

As both of the trees are deciduous and are harvested seasonally, it is not as hard to keep watch on them. However, recently due to diverse adaptations, they tend to survive in various changing kinds of weather and environments.

Except for their widespread phenomenon, it is essential for gardeners to note the toxicity and the poison that each of these invasive species holds. Knowing the details about each species would clear these things out for every garden-lover.

Black locust:

Black locusts trees are the real enemies to the peaceful beauty of your garden. No part of this plant lacks poison. Literally, no part. And, the most toxic part of these species lies in the seeds and the bark.

The chemical prominently known as Robinin is responsible for this devastating poison of the plant. When someone ingests any part of these, he might feel constipation, diarrhea, abominable pain, and several other diseases. The pets and horses are also not get relieved from this inhuman poison.

The situation gets really freaking when the animals – like cats, dogs, and even horses – eat these plants. Only 0.4% of the bark and seed is enough to drain everything from the poor pets. But don’t worry! It rarely takes life.

Honey locust:

Alternatively, though the honey locust thorns can be harmful to your body and your pets, the rest of the parts of the plants are safe to eat. Rather, researches prove that they are quite helpful.

To be honest, the pods of these plants are really loved by various domestic livestock. Plus, it has had a vast use in medicines for a long, long time. Apart from that, the sweetness of honey locust also makes it one of the best food sweeteners.

If you have a large garden beside your house, there is a high possibility that you end up having these invasive species. And as their thorns are not too friendly for your family, identifying and removing them is the best.

But how to distinguish between the black locust and honey locust trees? Well, these things are relatively easy. All that is needed is to look at the branches of the plants.

Even though they are less harmful, the honest locust has huge spikes of thorns. Unbelievably enough, they are almost four inches in length. In contrast, the black locust has small spines on its bark which are fiercely poisonous.

Are black and honey locust thorns poisonous to dogs?

Dogs’ immune systems vary greatly from those of humans. The things that affected us might not affect them and vice versa. If you have a garden full of honey and black locusts, and a house full of dogs (or even one dog), you should know what consequences you might face.

As the honey locust thorns are less poisonous, they tend to pose little to no threat to a dog. Despite this, they are quite helpful and proved non-toxic to all types of dogs.

Unluckily, the table is turned when talking about the black locust trees. Due to their perilous poison, the thorns can be real poison to the dogs. Along with other Robina species, these plants are accredited as terribly toxic for dogs.

Therefore, removing the thorns of black locusts is necessary. Although it is true that black locust plants have benefits, not keeping the thorns close to your pets is the best option to avoid such accidents.

Also, no one can continuously watch their pets. So, this seems the most feasible idea for any homeowner.

Honey locust vs black locust thorns – What are the differences?

Honey locust and the black locust thorns have sheer differences between them. If you want to be safe and secure, it is a must to have a check on these little evils. Prevention is far better than cure, and to prevent identification is what you need.

All gardeners should know these simple distinctive points of each thorn. If you want to keep your doggy safe from this, go through the below guide to help you out.


The size of the thorns is the first significant factor in any gardening. No wonder, it is the foremost thing that holds the attraction.

The size of honey locust thorns has much larger spines – approximately four inches. However, the black locust ones are losers in this case.


Both of the thorns also look very different from each other. Their color variance and furrows make it easier to identify this factor.

Most of the time, the honey locust spines start with green color. The color deepens from red to purple when it hardens bit by bit.

On the flip side, the black locust thorns are way hairier than the other ones. Additionally, they are busy and have furrows that are of dark grey color.


Unsurprisingly, the growth of these two types of thorns has great differences in height. From the earliest age, the black locust shows tremendous growth that results upto more than a hundred feet.

The same is not valid for the honey locust. Their growth is stunted most of the time and tends to have a maximum height of seventy feet.

What are black and honey locust thorns used for?

As much as the fact that the thorns are poisonous, the interesting fact is they also prove useful many times. Both the thorns of honey locust and black locust have versatile benefits that gardeners could actually use for their necessities.

For instance, the honey locust thorns’ helpful factors have been a real discussion for several years now. Most of the time, their green pods are legumes used for livestock and domestic animal breeding. Plus, the animals love to eat their pulps.

Besides, scientists have found many amazing benefits of honey locusts in the medicine industry. As a result, widespread use of these plants and thorns can be seen in medicines.

Contrastingly, the blackthorns are mostly poisonous and have no use than applying as fertilizer. For an effective soil that flourishes the plants, black locust has no better alternatives.

Though people often talk about their toxicity, these plants also possess some beneficial chemicals that undoubtedly serve the gardeners and farmers. Not to mention, proper care is needed while keeping them in your gardens.

How do you remove black and honey locust thorns?

What if an accident occurs? You can try to prevent it, but there are times when you or your family may have been pricked by the thorns of black or honey locust trees. As much as panic-striking it is, finding the way to remove it is all that we need.

Therefore, without stressing out, following the below steps would help you out with any troublesome experience. Here it goes-

Clean the area:

The first and foremost duty should be cleaning the area. Washing it with clean water is often recommended. Also, many people prefer to use antiseptics to wash it, which is also quite a good idea.

Inspect the part:

Use glasses to inspect the part that is being pricked by the thorns. It is necessary to understand if the thorns are fully inside or have an end poking out. Our next steps would completely depend upon our inspection.

Use tweezers:

Tweezers work best when the end of the thorn is sticking out. It is one of the easiest and simplest ways to get rid of those dangerous spines.

However, don’t forget to hold it to the close and top corners to avoid any injury. A lot of the time, tweezers themselves can injure the affected area.

Try a drawing salve:

If the end is not pointing out or goes inside the skin, then it’s the cue to use salve. Most of the time it acts as magic and helps to draw out the end of the thorn.

As soon as the thorn’s end is sticking out, continue your mission of tweezers again. Hopefully, this time you will succeed.

Final Thoughts

In general, if someone has children and pets, it’s good to avoid black and honey locust trees lurking everywhere in the garden. As both of their thorns can harm you from minute to severity, the best option is to have a watch over them. Especially, the black ones – they have threatening effects!

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