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any of the thorny trees of the genus Gleditsia, in the pea family (Fabaceae), with about 12 species native to North and South America, tropical Africa, and central and eastern Asia. Some species are cultivated as ornamentals, such as G. triacanthos of North America. This tree grows to about 40 metres (about 130 feet) high but is generally lower under cultivation. It bears long compound leaves divided into as many as 30 oval leaflets, each of which is about 25 millimetres (about 1 inch) long. Some leaves may be doubly divided, in which case the leaflets are more numerous and smaller. The small, greenish white flowers are borne in clusters in the leaf axils. The fruit is a reddish brown, flattened pod, up to 45 centimetres (about 18 inches) long, sometimes sickle shaped and twisted. Brown, beanlike seeds lie within, separated by a sticky, sweet-tasting substance. The trunk and branches have clusters of stout, simple or branched thorns, 8 to 10 cm long.