Tree Information

Common Name: honeylocust

Scientific Name: Gleditsia triacanthos

Native/Naturalized: Native to Virginia

Database ID: 131

Status: alive

National Champion: yes

Virginia Champion: yes

Circumference: 247 in.

Height: 103 ft.

Crown: 112 ft.

Points: 378

Date Last Measured: 2019

Last Measured by: Jason Sprouls, Sarah Gugercin

Date First Measured: 1990

The tree was first measured and nominated by Richard Salzer in April 1990 at 213"" trunk, 95' height, 78' crown, 328 points. It immediately became national champion, but was dethroned a year later by a tree measuring 362 points in Michigan. It was measured again in October 1995 by William Hubard at 216"" trunk, 104' height, 84' crown, 341 points. It was measured again in 2002 at 354 points (measurer unknown). It was measured again in August 2010 by Bob Boeren at 234"" trunk, 121' height, 115' crown, 384 points. This height was later found to be inaccurately high. It was listed as co-national-champ with a tree in Maryland for about a decade, until the Maryland tree was reported dead in 2019. After remeasurement in 2019, the tree became sole national champion. The tree is healthy and has continued to grow since last measured in 2010. The tree has suffered some damage to the main leader; however, a healthy amount of wound wood has formed. There was some poison-ivy in the tree. The score dropped a bit when height was measured using a laser hypsometer.

The tree is the larger of two honeylocust trees (other is #2 in Va. ID 1573) located in Godwin Cemetery of Fincastle United Methodist Church. A quote from the Historic Fincastle Tour Guide states, ""Earliest graves date from the mid 1800s and are located along Church Street, on land purchased by James Godwin in 1801 for a family graveyard. A portion of his property was deeded to John Slicer in 1891 for his family burials. At the top of the hill was land owned by A.E.G. Aurick, which passed to the Bolton family. By 1898, the Godwin Cemetery Trustees acquired the properties.""

An article was written about the tree in the Roanoke Times in 2010. In that article, forester Bob Boeren stated that the tree was approximately 206 years old based on its size and the fact the first wooden log church structure was built on the site in 1804 for the congregation that began in 1796. A June 2020 article about the tree also ran in the Botetourt Bee. The tree is also featured in the book ""Remarkable Trees of Virginia"".

More Photos

Jason Sprouls 8/22/2019

Location of Tree

Tree is located in: Botetourt

State Map

Land Owner: Godwin Cemetery Association

GPS Coordinates: 37.49678, -79.87565

Directions: In the Godwin Cemetery next to Fincastle United Methodist Church.

Owner Address: 137 S Church St

Fincastle, VA 24090

Owner Phone: 540-473-2313

Contact Information

Contact Name: Cathy Benson

Contact Email:

Contact Phone: 540-473-2762

Contact Info: Patricia Coon Ellis is president of cemetery association. Other contacts: Heather Butler (, Eric Claunch (


Original Nominator(s): Richard Salzer

Additional Information

I.D. Fact Sheet

Landowner Fact Sheet

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