The seeds have been roasted and used as a coffee substitute. Seedpods - the pulp is sweet and can be eaten raw or made into sugar. The render young seedpods can be cooked and eaten. The pulp in older pods turns bitter. The seedpods are up to 40cm long and 4cm wide. A sweet, pleasant tasting drink can be made from the seed pods.The seed pulp has been used to make a drink.
The alcoholic extract of the fruits of the honey locust, after elimination of tannin, considerably retarded the growth, up to 63% of Ehrlich mouse carcinoma. However, the cytotoxicity of the extract was quite high and the animals, besides losing weight, showed dystrophic changes in their liver and spleen. The alcoholic extract of the fruit exerted moderate oncostatic activity against sarcoma 180 and Ehrlich carcinoma at the total dose 350 mg/kg/body weight/mouse. Weight loss was considerable. An infusion of the bark has been drunk and used as a wash in the treatment of dyspepsia. It has also been used in the treatment of whooping cough, measles, smallpox etc. The twigs and the leaves contain the alkaloids gleditschine and stenocarpine. Stenocarpine has been used as a local anaesthetic whilst gleditschine causes stupor and loss of reflex activity.Current research is examining the leaves as a potential source of anticancer compounds.
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Trees are rather tender when young, but they are hardy to about -30°c once they are established. They grow best in southern Britain. The honey locust is often cultivated in warm temperate zones for its edible seeds and seedpods, trees start to bear when about 10 years old and produce commercial crops for about 100 years. Wild trees seldom live longer than 120 years. Trees are shy to flower and therefore do not often produce a worthwhile crop in Britain due to our cooler summers. There are some named varieties. The sub-species nana produced lots of viable seed in the hot summer of 1989 at Kew[K], it also had a very good crop in 1994, 1996 and in 1999[K]. The sub-species inermis had a very good crop of pods in the autumn of 1996[K]. 'Ashworth' has pods with a very sweet pulp that has a melon-like flavour. The flowers have a pleasing scent. A very ornamental tree, the flowers are very attractive to bees. Trees have a light canopy, they come into leaf late and lose their leaves early making them an excellent canopy tree for a woodland garden. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.Unlike most plants in this family, honey locusts do not fix atmospheric nitrogen.
Problems, pests & diseases
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