Gleditsia aquatica, commonly called water locust or swamp locust after its habitat of river swamps and slough margins, is a tree native to the Southeastern United States and adjacent regions.
This deciduous tree is native to Florida and its natural range stretches from South Carolina to central Florida, across Louisiana to eastern Texas, and up the Mississippi River valley to southern Illinois and Indiana. Water locust can grow well in both sunny and shady conditions as long as it receives plenty of water. It generally reaches 75 feet in height, but heights of up to 90 feet have also been reported. The leaves are bipinnately compound and are 12–30 inches long. Leaflets are oval in shape, 1–3 inches long, have a shiny surface and smooth edges, and occur in 6–14 pairs on a leaf. Three- to 5-inch-long thorns may protrude through the thin, grayish-brown bark of the trunk and branches. Male and female flowers are small, greenish white, and bell shaped. Flowers bloom in late spring and appear in clusters on soft, vertical, twig-like structures that only flowers grow on. Fruits are 1- to 2-inch-long flat pods that are dark brown and shiny. Pods mature late in the summer months, are dehiscent or open on their own when ripe, and contain one, flattened, round seed, rarely exhibiting up to three.