About 14 species of deciduous trees, usually with simple or branched thorns on the branches and trunks. Leaves alternate, compound (pinnate or bipinnate), with as many as 30 leaflets. Flowers small, green-white, perfect or unisexual, in axillary clusters (racemes). Fruit oblong, flat to nearly cylindrical, with many rounded seeds. Native to eastern Asia, North and South America, tropical Africa, and Iran.
Gleditsia: after German botanist Gottlieb Gleditsch (1714-1786), director of the Berlin Botanical Garden and friend of Linnaeus.