Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

Native to the southeastern United States, the black locust found its way to New England300x225 because of its wood that is rot resistant and very hard. After  initially being planted for its wood, it began to thrive in southeastern MA, because it grows well in rocky or sandy soil. These trees grow up to 80 feet tall with quite distinguishable features: the bark is highly grooved, the leaves are up to a foot long each with many small oval leaflets paired along it and one unpaired on the end, the trees also have paired spines up to a half inch long along the branches, and small white flowers that grow in droopy clusters of 4-8 inches.

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Black Locusts form large colonies in grasslands and Pine Barrens here in southeast MA by root sprouting, a trait of the Locusts. These patches can quickly choke out other vegetation where they grow thick enough, becoming a problem for native species. Cutting trees down and then applying herbicide to the trunks is a very effective way of controlling the growth/spread of these plants.