Black locust, or Robinia pseudoacacia trees are abundant in my area of the Ozarks and are not only a beautiful tree, but have a lot of uses. The wood is very hard and is used in a lot of furniture making and woodworking. It also burns well and for a long time (I have a bunch that I use in the fireplace throughout the winter, it’s a great wood for long-lasting bonfires).

The flowers are sweet smelling and were traditional used in Cherokee medicine as a flavoring for medicinal compounds as well as a febrifuge, antispasmodic, aromatic, diuretic, emollient and laxative (caution should be taken here because while the flowers are edible they will “clean you out” as the old timers say). The flower also is said to contain the antitumor compound benzoaldehyde.

The inner bark and root are both used for their emetic, purgative and tonic properties (again, caution). The root bark has also traditionally been used to help with toothaches, although it may also induce vomitting.

The leaves are used as a cholagogue and emetic and may contain some antiviral compounds.