Photos of Robinia pseudoacacia, Black Locust.

Robinia pseudoacacia. Black Locust, found in dry woods in Eastern North America, is widely planted as an ornamental tree in temperate climates. Indigenous groups chewed root bark to induce vomiting. A folk tonic, purgative, emetic. Flower tea used for rheumatism. In China the root bark is also considered purgative and emetic and the flowers are considered diuretic. Flowers contain a glycoside, robinin, which is experimentally diuretic. Flowers are sometimes eaten. Black locust first described in detail in one of the great seventeenth century English herbals by John Parkinson Theatrum Botanicum published in 1640. In his Sylva Florifera, (1823), Henry Phillips tell us that native American make a declaration of love by presenting a branch of this tree in blossom to the object of their attachment. No doubt our native black locust itself was also an object of desire. Of all exotic trees, Phillips writes, with which we have adorned our native groves, this North American stands first.

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