I'm looking for seeds from honey locust trees that are thornless (or nearly so) and bear pods heavily. It would be a plus if they were in Colorado or other locations on the front range. I realize that these traits will not dependably continue from seed; I'm looking for material for a mass planting and selection program, to create a high yielding, thornless landrace adapted to Colorado; I'll just chop out any thorny ones. I'm planning to grow them for a year or two, to eliminate weak ones and thorny ones, and then find landowners who want to plant them out for shelter-belts or habitat, in locations where I can have access to for ongoing evaluation.
I also realize that thorns might deter browsing, but they can also puncture tires and feet; I'd like these trees to be at least somewhat friendly; a little temporary protection till they get above browsing height seems like a good compromise.
Post by prairiegardens on Nov 20, 2017 22:04:50 GMT -5
If you don't find them anywhere else JLHudson has both thornless honey locust and black locust seed. (In case you change your mind, the honey from black locust is said to be superb) The honey locust I got from them did well. They have a lot of interesting stuff and I was happy with the service and the seed, although I never did manage to break the seed coat of the black locust, that's not their fault.
I used to use a grinder head on a Dremel to get through the seed coat. I have read several places that thornless honey locusts have a gene that is dominant for thornless, but is lethal when homozygous. Others have selected against thorns but ended up always with seedlings that are 1/4 thorned, 1/2 thornless, and 1/4 not viable.
I don't know at what stage the homozygots die. I know that Morgan's wooly gene in tomatoes dies at an early stage. But breeding from siblings of those seedlings that lived longest eventually got a strain of tomatoes homozygous for the gene and lived long enough to mature seeds.* It would take a big investment of time to find out if it is even possible with thornless honey locusts. It is possible that my information is outdated and a new gene for thornless is now known.
Post by prairiegardens on Nov 22, 2017 17:03:02 GMT -5
The honey locust seed responded to hot water treatment without too much trouble at all. I understand that there has been breeding going on to prevent h l from producing seed because then it's a cleaner street tree. No idea if that has any bearing on anything....also a whole lot of supposedly thornless seed doesn't actually come from truly thornless trees. I can't give you any long term first hand info, a bear or something destroyed the new plantings and I learned about it too late (3 days) to save them from the effects of dehydration after they were all dug up.
It looks like the thornless genetics are complicated. Does anyone have any suggested reading material? Even if it couldn't be eliminated entirely, a landrace should still be feasible; four times more seedlings could be planted than needed, and the thorny ones chopped out early.
Post by philagardener on Nov 23, 2017 16:39:29 GMT -5
I have access to a nice thornless honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis) that is dropping pods now. I checked today and the pods have a nice showing of plump, brown seeds. I'm pretty far from the Rockies and don't know if you located a more local source. The tree is medium stature and by itself, but there is an impressive, tall, thorned individual about 150 ft away. That said, if thornless is a dominant trait, 50% or more of the seedlings should be thornless whether selfed or out-crossed.
Glad to offer small quantities to anyone interested in growing them - just send me a pm with a US mailing address. Always glad to trade too!
I think I've found more then enough seed from random, non-improved trees by now (probably in the thousands once I get all these pods shelled out!) Even more interestingly, I'v found sources for three of the improved varieties. So I wouldn't want you to go to the trouble of sending them out. I probably won't be able to grow out all the seeds I've got.