The Honey Locust tree originates from the central United States. Specifically, it comes from the region between Pennsylvania and Nebraska that is south of Minnesota and north of Louisiana. Honey Locusts are most common in the valleys of streams in Illinois and Indiana.
Historically, the Honey Locust tree has been very important. The wood is dense, heavy, and stiff, making it desirable for many types of construction. In the past, it was often used to build houses, fence posts, pallets, and a plethora of other projects. Additionally, the Cherokees in Tennessee often made hunting longbows from the Honey Locust’s wood. It has been reported that some Cherokee tribes used Honey Locust trees as a source of medicine, food, and wood to carve games with. Beyond humans, many animals have also historically depended on these trees. The pods of Honey Locust trees are more than 40% carbohydrates by mass, making this tree an important source of food for squirrels, deer, crows, bobwhites, starlings, opossums, and other small mammals.
The Honey Locust tree continues to have important uses today. Its fruits are used as a food source for livestock. Additionally, because of its stiff and durable trunk, Honey Locust trees are planted as wind breakers and to protect areas from erosion. When fully grown, these trees form dense thickets of vegetation which serve as an important source of shade and cover for many different animals. Finally, some research suggests that the Honey Locust tree possesses important medicinal properties. The juice of Honey Locust pods has antiseptic properties and is occasionally utilized as a home remedy for indigestion, flu symptoms, and catarrh.