Black locust is native to the eastern U.S. from the central Appalachian Mountains to northeastern Oklahoma. Although it can reach a height of 80 feet, it is a short-lived tree, starting its twilight years around age sixty. The largest measured black locust is in New York and is 94 feet tall, with a circumference of 26 feet.
The wood of black locust is very hard and durable and is used for tool handles, firewood, fence posts, and pulp. As firewood, one cord of black locust will yield the same heat as one ton of anthracite coal. Although not used widely as an ornamental in the U.S., some horticultural varieties are available. Locally, a variety called purple robe is available, but black locust really shines for mine reclamation and erosion control where sites are very difficult to establish trees.
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