Any of the trees constituting the genus Gleditsia (family Fabaceae (Leguminosae)), the members of which are native to South and East Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East, typically have thorny trunks and branches, variably pinnate leaves, small greenish flowers, and edible seed pods, and are cultivated for ornament, fodder, timber, and hedging; especially G. triacanthos, native to the eastern United States and widely planted elsewhere; also called honey locust. Also (in form Gleditsia): the genus itself.
Valid publication of the genus name: Linnaeus Species plantarum (1753) 1056.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in James Lee (1715–1795), nurseryman. From scientific Latin Gleditsia (LinnaeusGenera plantarum (ed. 2, 1742) 480) from Gleditsius, Latinized form of the name of Johann Gottlieb Gleditsch, German physician and botanist + -a.