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Black Locust

Black Locust Tree
The black locust, native to the southeastern United States, is an invasive species that grows throughout Central Park, and is no longer planted. The black locust is a member of the pea family, a resemblance that is especially noticeable when the tree is in flower. This tree is a home for woodpeckers and displays white flowers with a fragrant scent from May through June. Black locusts provide durable wood that the Conservancy uses to build rustic benches, fences, and structures. The black locust is commonly confused with the honey locust but does not have the latter’s dramatic spiked trunks.

Common Name: Black Locust

Scientific Name: Robinia pseudoacacia

Origin: Central and southeastern United States

Family: Leguminosae

Size: 40 - 50' tall

Form: Upright, somewhat narrow crown, branching upright to irregular

Culture: Easily transplanted and grown; thrives in full sun; tolerant of most soils; can perform well in dry, sterile, sandy soils; tolerant of salt, heat, and pollution


6 - 14" long, alternate rows of leaflets, seven to nineteen elliptical leaflets


Pendulous creamy white clusters, pea-like, fragrant May to June


2 - 4" flat pod, mature in October


Dark gray, distinctive, rope-like ridges, furrows interlace