Black Locust Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae) – Pea and Bean Family

Status: Common to abundant in Ohio and throughout the United States.

Some people might confuse the Black Locust with the Honey Locust which is a very common tree in The Woods.  The Black Locust tree can be distinguished from the Honey Locust because it only has pinnate leaves and the individual leaflets are larger than those of the Honey Locust. 

Also, Black Locust trees do not have the distinctive large branched thorns of the Honey Locust, but instead have a short pair of sharp spines or prickles at the base of each leaf.

In the springtime, the Black Locust will produce large clusters of fragrant white flowers. The tree produces legume fruits in early autumn. Although the legumes cannot be eaten by wildlife, the trees can provide cover from open areas and species such as bobwhite quail will eat the seeds. The tree grows in almost all soils as long as the soil is not overly wet, and does not tolerate shade very well, preferring to grow in full sunlight.

Additional References:


LEARN MORE  about the Woods on the Ariel-Foundation Park main site!


A special thanks to the students of the Field Botany class at Mount Vernon Nazarene University who wrote the reports on the various kinds of trees found in The Woods. These students include Chandler Cook, Grace Hall, Emily Kauble, Keith Kitchen, Madison Lotz, Kevin Maurer, Christina Norcross, Caroline Phillips, Dakoda Ramsey, Jacob Schott, Emily Smith, and Katelyn Stone.

All photos linked in this Learning Station courtesy of D. Mosher, Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

Appendix I

Plant surveys were done by the Field Botany class at Mount Vernon Nazarene University during the fall semester of 2016.  A summary of the class surveys for woody plants and herbaceous plants is available.