This tree is native to the eastern United States, but the exact natural range is not accurately known, since it has been cultivated and is currently found across the nation, in each of the 48 continental United States.
Black Locust Trees feature many oval, bluish-green compound leaves with a contrasting lighter undersides to give this tree a beautiful appearance in the wind and contribute to its grace. The tips of each leaflet may be slightly notched, rounded, or pointed.
Its sweetly fragrant, pendulous, creamy white flowers in hang clusters. Each cluster can be up to 8 inches long. Here in northeast Ohio, its flowers are produced in late May through June.
The Black Locust’s fruit is a flat, smooth pea-like pod 2–4 inches long and about a half an inch wide. It usually contains 4-8 seeds.
The wood is extremely hard, being one of the hardest woods in Northern America. It is very resistant to rot, and durable, making it prized for furniture, flooring, paneling, fence posts, and small watercraft.
Black Locust can quickly grow to 50 feet tall by 25 feet wide, when found in the open. They are not tolerant of shade. As a grade-schooler we planted these and is was astonishing how fast they grew.
This is a member of the Bean Family and is related to Redbud, Honeylocust, Kentucky Coffeetree, and Wisteria, as well as other Locust Tree species. Its many interesting characteristics make it a great tree to study.