A medium sized tree up to 70 feet. Formed with a relatively straight trunk with an irregularly oblong crown of crooked branches. Part of Pea Family, also known as the Acacia, Yellow Locust, Common Locust or White Locust. It has an unusual characteristic of folding its leaflets at dark or before a rainfall known as “sleep”. Forms thickets by rootsuckering. Used for erosion control, mine props and historically for shipbuilding. The inner bark contains a poisonous compound which causes the severe pain when pricked by the thorns. Livestock can be poisoned by the young shoots or bark, but the bark is eaten by rabbits and the seeds by mourning doves and bobwhite.


Resembles a sprig of grapes. 8-14” long, with 7-9 leaflets. Each leaflet is 1”oval with smooth edges.


Gray – light brown, thick withm intersecting, ropey ridges and shallow furrows. Mature – furrows deepen, less intersecting.


Zig-zag, slightly stout and angular, red-brown .Pairs of sharp thorns at each leaf scar (often absent on older twigs); buds are submerged beneath the leaf scar.


Light brown, flattened pods, 2-4” long, filled with 4 to 8 red-brown seeds that ripen in fall.


Showy white, fragrant flowers, 1″ long and pea-like. Appear in mid–late spring in long 6” clusters.