What Types of Trees Have Thorns?

whologwhy/CC-BY 2.0

Varieties of honeylocust, citrus, mesquite and hawthorn trees have thorns. Thorns are an adaption that trees developed as a way to ward off predators.

Fruit-bearing trees tend to have thorns more often than those that do not produce fruit. This is because the thorns serve as a way for the tree to protect itself. The four tree varieties that have thorns include:

  • Honeylocusts: Native honeylocust trees have thorns, but those that were developed for landscaping do not feature thorns.
  • Citrus trees: Like the honeylocust, wild citrus trees have thorns. Though they are not always present, most citrus trees will have thorns at some point in their lives.
  • Mesquites: Native to the southern region of the U.S., mesquite trees are smaller thorn-bearing plants that can be considered shrubs.
  • Hawthorns: The thorns on hawthorn trees can reach five inches in length. They are produce both flowers and berries in addition to thorns.