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Black locust


Classification:

Family:  Fabaceae, pea family
Genus, species:  Robinia pseudo-acacia

Leaves:
Leaves are pinnately compound. Each leaf has 7 to 19 leaflets. Leaflets are elliptical in shape, smooth (untoothed) edges. Leaflets are larger and rounder compared to honey locust leaflets. Each leaf has a pair of short thorns at the base.

Bark:
Bark is light gray, deeply furrowed with long rough forking ridges.

Flowers:
Flowers are fragrant, white, pea-shaped, grouped in showy drooping clusters.

Fruit:
Fruit is a long flat pod, dark brown, 2 to 4 inches long.

Seeds:
Seeds are dark brown, flat, beanlike.

Roots:
Roots contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

Common Uses and Interesting Facts:
Black locust wood is extremely hard, rot-resistant, durable. Bark and leaves are toxic.

More Information:

The genus name Robinia is named for Jean Robin (1550-1629) and Vesparian Robin (1579-1600), herbalists and gardeners for Henry VI of France.  The species name pseudo-acacia, pseudo- is from the Greek for "false" and -acacia is from the Greek for "thorn."

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