The common locust is indigenous to the country west of the Alleghanies as far as Arkansas; and without the maritime parts, to the distance of forty to ninety miles, it is planted for purposes of utility and ornament from Maine to Georgia, and often attains a height of eighty or ninety feet and a diameter sometimes exceeding four feet; but under ordinary instances, or in its wild state, it does not ordinarily exceed half these dimensions.
It is valued for the properties of its wood and the beauty of its foliage and flowers. When young its branches tend upward, but as the tree increases in age they become more horizontal. The bark of its trunk and principal branches is very thick and deeply fur-rowed,»and in young trees is studded with strong hooked prickles, which disappear as the tree grows old. This tree bears a very agreeable foliage, each leaf being composed of opposite leaflets from eight to twelve in number. It is particularly adapted for planting along roadsides and in the neighborhood of cities and towns, and would be very effective for park purposes. It produces a perfectly white, sometimes yellowish, flower, disposed in pendulous bunches from three to five inches long, from which is diffused an agreeable odor.
The common locust varies considerably in its native localities, and numerous varieties have been produced from seed, the foliages of which are distinct when the plants are young; so we may regard the several varieties, commonly treated as species, as the result of soil and climate. Its growth in favorable soils is fairly rapid, and the durable properties of the wood fit it for posts, fencings, axle-trees of timber-wagons, and for many other useful purposes where exposure to weather is necessitated.