What is the difference between acacia and locust trees?

What is the difference between acacia and locust trees?

Characteristics of the black locust

The black locust is mostly found as a tree. The genus is rarely referred to as a shrub.


  • unpaired pinnate
  • up to 30 cm long
  • red-brown colored thorns form the stipules

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  • deep furrows
  • elongated cracks
  • gray-brown to dark brown

Features of the acacia

The acacia is usually obtained in the form of a shrub. The plant rarely appears as a tree.


  • paired pinnate
  • thorny stipules


  • Depending on the type, smooth or cracked

Commonality between black locust and acacia

In addition to their similar appearance, acacia and locust tree have one thing in common: all parts of the plant except for the flowers of the plants are considered poisonous. Be warned against eating the bark in particular. Small children, pets and horses are particularly at risk if left unattended. The black locust or acacia exert a special taste due to their sweet smell from the tree. Initial symptoms of poisoning are

  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • Racing heart
  • Vomit
  • Drowsiness
  • inner unrest

In animals, eating locust or acacia bark can even have fatal consequences.

Summary- difference between black locust and acacia

As you can see, it is quite possible to distinguish an acacia from a locust tree based on small details. To do this, take a close look at the leaf shape of the respective plant. Is the foliage plumage paired or unpaired? Even laypeople can clearly see this feature. If the leaves are arranged symmetrically and in even numbers on the petiole, this indicates the acacia. In contrast, the black locust has a leaf at the end of the petiole. It is a bit more vague to determine the trees based on the bark. To do this, you need to know exactly which type of acacia you are dealing with. If in doubt, you should simply seek advice from a specialist at the nearest tree nursery. However, you should not be misled by the term “false acacia”, as the robinia is also often called.