I have a really nice tree in my front yard which unfortunately needs to be removed (and cannot be relocated). As I am going to be very sad to lose it and may wish to obtain another, I would really like to know what it is. Can anyone help identify it?

The tree is about 25'-30' tall and roughly 'Y'-shaped (i.e. not a huge spreading crown) with foliage starting from nearly ground level. The leaves are shorter than some other trees near me that I know to be sumac; I'm guessing this is either a black locust or honey locust?

Here's a photo: photo of the tree's foliage

  • 1
    Could you please post a photo of the tree from a distance, as well as one of the bark. Also - does the tree have showy flowers? Seed pods of any kind? Prickly bark on new growth or on the trunk?
    – Jurp
    Sep 30, 2020 at 16:06
  • 1
    Looks like black locust to me. Black locust leaves have a slightly blueish color due to a thin, white, waxy coating on the leaves. They overall have a "softer" look to them than honey locust. Black locust has beautiful long clusters of fragrant white flowers in early summer.
    – csk
    Sep 30, 2020 at 22:38

1 Answer 1


This is, as the comments say, a black locust. It can be identified by:

  • compound leaves paired on either side of the stem
  • spines or thorns are sometimes present but this varies widely within the species
  • fragrant white showy flowers in the spring

It should be noted that black locust is considered an invasive species across the world and in urban areas is only used where anything else would die. Partly, this is due to the suckers which pop up from the roots. It is also prone to ice damage and locust borer.

You might think you will be loosing the tree but unless you get the stump chipped out and are quite vigilant using herbicide on the sprouts it will still be with you.

If you want to get another think about getting a cultivar like 'Frisia' or 'Purple Robe' that are a better choice.

  • Yeah, I noticed thorns; I took a picture of the bark but it's still stuck on my phone. Purple robe sounds like a good choice (I love locusts!).
    – Matthew
    Oct 1, 2020 at 1:03

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