Black locust

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Black locust Robinia pseudoacacia


A common name for a small deciduous tree, Robinia pseudoacacia, native to the Appalachian and Ozark Mountains of the United States. The black locust tree is often planted for shade along European streets because it is pretty and tolerates pollution well. Locust trees have long paper pods that contain hard seeds. It produces hard, strong, heavy dark wood that was formerly used for shipbuilding and is now used for outdoor construction, fence posts, and mine timbers.

Synonyms and Related Terms

black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia); Gewöhnliche Robinie (Deut.); Falsche Akazie (Deut.); Silberregen (Deut.); robinier (Fr.); robinia (It., Ned., Port.); falsa acacia (Esp., It.); valse acacia (Ned., Port.); Robinia akacjowa (Pol.); false acacia; yellow locust; North American locust


All parts of tree are considered toxic.

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Medium tree growing to 15-25 m
  • Bark=thick, fibrous gray to brown color
  • Leaves = alternate pinnate
  • Flowers=fragrant white hanging cluster (10 cm long) in late spring.
  • Fruit = pale brown flat pod containing kidney shaped beans; ripens in fall.
  • Density = 55-65 ppcf

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 462
  • F. H. Titmuss, Commercial Timbers of the World, The Technical Press Ltd., London, 1965 Comment: 55-65 ppcf
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Virginia Tech Dendrology website at (accessed Oct. 8, 2005)
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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