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Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

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A tree native to North America, but having expanded its range significantly due to human intervention; expanded to the northeast, north, west, and south. A nitrogen fixer.

Range - Expand


This tentative map is based on the FHWA's ERA. This data lacks information on Canada, but also overestimates native ranges, especially around the edges, as this post explains. We have not yet reviewed or fixed this map.


An early successional species on most sites. Found in full sun in open habitats with exposed soil, and following large-scale disturbances in forests such as fire, which have created conditions suitable for its survival. Black locust requires extensive disturbance; gaps caused by removal of one to a few trees are usually insufficient to create enough light for it to survive.

Naturally found in areas that have burned, areas cleared by landslides or avalanches, and occasionally areas defoliated by severe insect infestations. Also favored by anthropogenic disturbances, including logging, mining, and abandonment of agricultural fields and pastures. Also found in urban areas, in vacant lots, roadsides and railroads.

Black locust heavily alters the habitat around it, increasing soil nitrogen. In the long-run, this favors the establishment of more shade-tolerant trees that will eventually replace it on most sites.

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Robinia pseudoacacia (Black Locust) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Robinia pseudoacacia | Go Botany (About This Site)

Robinia pseudoacacia (Black Locust) | Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder (About This Site)

Black Locust | Virginia Tech Dendrology Factsheets (About This Site)

Black Locust | Silvics of North America (About This Site)

Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust) | CABI Invasive Species Compendium (About This Site)

Robinia pseudoacacia | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

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