Inspiration Farm

Black Locust


Black Locust, A Tall fast growing deciduous tree.  Has many uses as an over story. Makes a good shade tree, wind break / hedgerow, erosion control and/or for flowering effect with numerous black seed pods 2-4″ long. The bark is deep furrowed and blackish. Each leaf usually has a pair of thorns at its base. Its fragrant white flowers (which smell similar to orange blossoms) can be dipped in batter and deep fried or eaten fresh.


Latin: Robinia pseudoacacia  Because it tolerates pollution well, it makes a good city, planted tree. Black Locust wood is hard, resistant to rot and durable, making it useful for furniture, tool handles, flooring, paneling, fence posts and small watercraft. It is also planted for firewood because it grows rapidly and makes a good slow burning fire. It has the ability to burn even when wet. 

Black locust can reach a height of 40–100 feet with a diameter of 2–4 feet. It is a very upright tree with a straight trunk and narrow crown that grows scraggly with age. The dark blue-green compound leaves with a contrasting lighter underside give this tree a beautiful appearance in the wind and contribute to its grace. It also often spreads by underground shoots or suckers, which contributes to the weedy character of this species. Young trees are often spiny, but mature trees often lack spines. In the early summer black locust flowers; the flowers are large and appear in large, intensely fragrant clusters reminiscent of orange blossoms. The leaflets fold together in wet weather and at night (nyctinasty), as some change of position at night is a habit of the entire leguminous family.

Because it fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere, the trees grow incredibly fast (3 – 4 feet in a season) and can quickly become windbreaks, shelterbelts, and shade and shelter for animals in silvopasture grazing systems. Likes full sun and tolerant of most soils. known as a very tough plant. Black locust produces large dark seedpods which hang and provide food for quail, turkey, grouse, pheasant, and song birds  from autumn to early spring when vegetation becomes scarce.

  • The nutritional value of the leaves is similar to alfalfa, making it a valuable feed for ruminant livestock. Some sources claim excessive consumption can lead to toxicity, but many farmers have found their animals naturally limit their intake. (horses excepted)
  • The tree has been used to support nutrition in other crops, from grains to other trees. Research has shown increases in nitrogen in barley grain crops interplanted with locust, and black walnuts interplanted with locust as “nurse” trees were shown to rapidly increase their growth.
  • The flowers are important sources of food for honeybees. In Hungary, Black Locust is the basis of commercial honey production.
  • The high-density wood is the most rot resistant wood we can grow in our climate, making it an ideal material for fenceposts, hope poles, outdoor furniture, decks, and other projects that require weatherproof materials.
  • It’s BTU rating is among the highest, making it an excellent firewood in both heat value and coaling ability. 
  • Here is a nice article on the many uses of Black Locust
  • Zones: 3-9

Additional information


100 seeds, 3 year old sapling


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