Science, Tech, Math › Animals & Nature Black Locust, a Common Tree in North America Robinia pseudoacacia – one of the most common north American trees Share Flipboard Email Print Animals & Nature Forestry Individual Hardwood Species Tree Identification Basics Arboriculture Tree Structure & Physiology The Science Of Growing Trees Conifer Species Pests, Diseases, and Wildfires Tree Planting and Reforestation Amphibians Birds Habitat Profiles Mammals Reptiles Wildlife Conservation Insects Marine Life Dinosaurs Evolution View More By Steve Nix Forestry Expert B.S., Forest Resource Management, University of Georgia Steve Nix is a natural resources consultant and a former forest resources analyst for the state of Alabama. He is a member of the Society of American Foresters. our editorial process Steve Nix Updated February 02, 2018 Black locust is a legume with root nodes that, along with bacteria, "fixes" atmospheric nitrogen into the soil. These soil nitrates are usable by other plants. Most legumes have pea-like flowers with distinctive seed pods. Black locust is native to the Ozarks and the southern Appalachians but has been transplanted in many northeastern states and Europe. The tree has become a pest in areas outside its natural range. You are encouraged to plant the tree with caution. 01 of 04 The Silviculture of Black Locust Gelia/Getty Images Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), sometimes called yellow locust, grows naturally on a wide range of sites but does best on rich moist limestone soils. It has escaped cultivation and become naturalized throughout eastern North America and parts of the West. 02 of 04 The Images of Black Locust Carmen Hauser/Getty Images Forestryimages.org provides several images of parts of black locust. The tree is a hardwood and the lineal taxonomy is Magnoliopsida > Fabales > Fabaceae > Robinia pseudoacacia L. Black locust is also commonly called yellow locust and false acacia. 03 of 04 The Range of Black Locust zrfphoto/Getty Images Black locust has a disjunct original range, the extent of which is not accurately known. The eastern section is centered in the Appalachian Mountains and ranges from central Pennsylvania and southern Ohio, south to northeastern Alabama, northern Georgia, and northwestern South Carolina. The western section includes the Ozark Plateau of southern Missouri, northern Arkansas, and northeastern Oklahoma, and the Ouachita Mountains of central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma. Outlying populations appear in southern Indiana and Illinois, Kentucky, Alabama, and Georgia 04 of 04 Black Locust at Virginia Tech arenysam/Getty Images Leaf: Alternate, pinnately compound, with 7 to 19 leaflets, 8 to 14 inches long. Leaflets are oval, one inch long, with entire margins. Leaves resemble sprigs of grapes; green above and paler below.Twig: Zigzag, somewhat stout and angular, red-brown in color, numerous lighter lenticels. Paired spines at each leaf scar (often absent on older or slow-growing twigs); buds are submerged beneath the leaf scar.