Herb latin name: Gleditsia macracantha

Family: Leguminosae

Medicinal use of Gleditsia macracantha:

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.

Description of the plant:


18 m
(59 feet)

to May


Habitat of the herb:

Streamsides and open country at low altitudes.

Other uses of Gleditsia macracantha:

A soap substitute is obtained from the seedpods. Wood - strong, durable, coarse-grained.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - pre-soak for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in spring in a greenhouse. The seed should have swollen up, in which case it can be sown, if it has not swollen then soak it for another 24 hours in warm water. If this does not work then file away some of the seed coat but be careful not to damage the embryo. Further soaking should then cause the seed to swell. One it has swollen, the seed should germinate within 2 - 4 weeks at 20C. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual deep pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Give the plants some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors.

Cultivation of Gleditsia macracantha:

Streamsides and open country at low altitudes.

Known hazards of Gleditsia macracantha:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.