Robinia - Robinia pseudoacacia


Robinia is a tree belonging to the Leguminosae family. Its Latin name is robina pseudoacacia. "Pseudoacacia" because when it was found by the first men who populated North America it was immediately baptized "acacia" because of its thorns that made it resemble a tree described in the pages of the Old Testament. False acacia, it was therefore considered for some time (in English, for example, its name is "golden acacia"), but the differences with this tree are substantial.

There black locust it is a medium-sized tree that reaches a height of around 25 meters. It is a rather fast growing plant, with ornamental value above all by virtue of the beauty of its foliage, which shines with a suggestive light yellow color from spring to autumn: its value is highlighted if it is grown as a single specimen inside. of a meadow. A medium-large space around its trunk would in fact allow it to properly expand its royal foliage, with the beautiful flowers that reach their maximum splendor in the months of May and June. But, during particularly hot summers, the foliage can change color from yellow to light green, consequently losing one of its most popular characteristics.

The fascinating pinnate leaves are a sign of its beauty, but also its pendulous racemes of candid flowers, either light pink or purple followed by the production of seeds that will be contained by flattened pods.

There black locust it has an erect crown and fairly fragile and thorny stems, which can often be damaged if subjected to repeated lashes of a strong wind. Even the twigs have small thorns, which always occur in pairs, not present on the strongest branches. Speaking of thorns, the Pyramidalis cultivar, with a columnar habit, is totally devoid of them.

The trunk and stems of the black locust are always irregular and grooved, and the bark is always very bumpy. This detail, if on the one hand it gives greater beauty to the specimen, on the other it makes it not very usable for the use of modern wood for the production of objects of various kinds, despite its wood being strong and durable.

Leaves flowers

The foliage consists of a mass of leaves, divided gently. These are pinnate, composed of 9 pairs of light green leaves. The flowers are white and very fragrant. They open in early spring and are the most aesthetically appreciated part of the tree: white as snow, they hang down as if they were forming delicate clusters.


It is advisable to sow the seeds of the previous year in a soil composed equally of sand and peat. Do not damage the soil that covers the roots at the time of planting, to avoid causing problems with rooting.

Cultivated as mentioned for ornamental purposes, not being in possession of a favorable timber for various types of constructions, the locust tree it is enhanced when combined with other green-leaved plants, in order to form a fascinating contrast of colors. In this case the black locust it could be placed just before a wood or in the middle of green leaves and conifers. Being a legume it has the characteristic of having roots that fix nitrogen in the soil by themselves, obtaining spontaneous self-fertilization.


The black locust prefers sunny locations. It tolerates air pollution very easily and is therefore suitable for growth in the city. On the other hand, it suffers a lot if beaten by strong winds or salty winds.


It easily adapts to poor and dry, calcareous or clayey soils. Its preference goes to rich and fresh soils, where it grows at great speed, with the risk, however, of breakages that can be caused by strong gusts of wind or abundant snowfalls.


A recommended way is to keep it in the large bush shape, which is achieved by cutting it down to the base every two to three years.


The most serious problems for the tree come from mealybugs.


Scholars and botanists report that the locust tree has often been used by landscape architects to cover certain heaps of waste with yellow and green natural elements. And it has often been grown where the possibility of vandalism is high. This is because, when planted, pruning gives rise to very thorny suckers, which drive away possible vandals.

Interesting is the recommended project, in order to create a hedge for bees, which sees the use of locust together with a dozen other trees. The creation of a hedge of trees and shrubs for beekeeping purposes requires, in fact, a continuous production of nectar and pollen available to bees between February and September: in particular a lot of pollen for the first months and a lot of nectar from April to July. The locust tree placed centrally, together with other trees such as linden, cherry and - of smaller dimensions - the wild plum, the wild rose, the dandelion, the clover, the lotus, the mallow, is particularly suitable for this purpose.

Girdling of young Robinia pseudoacacia trees on the Tama River terrace, central Japan

Robinia pseudoacacia L. has been widely planted worldwide for a variety of purposes, but it is an aggressive invader in many regions. To control invasion by the species, we examined the effectiveness of girdling young trees to ground level to kill trees and preclude sprout development through comparison among girdling, clearcut and control treatments on the Tama river terrace, Tokyo. More than 99% of R. pseudoacacia trees were killed by girdling. The number of sprouts that developed from roots and stumps after girdling was distinctly reduced compared with that observed after clearcutting. We also conducted girdling of young trees of Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle, which shows similar developmental and ecological characteristics to R. pseudoacacia, and the two species are often sympatric. More than 98% of A. very high trees were killed, but a higher number of sprouts developed from A. very high stumps compared with that from R. pseudoacacia stumps. These results indicate that girdling young trees to ground level is an effective method of controlling R. pseudoacacia by killing the stem and precluding sprout development. The girdling method is simple to apply and imposes a low burden on the surrounding environment.

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Acacia Robinia, a tree with many qualities

  • growth rapideasy culture
  • resistance colds, droughts and pollution, few requirements
  • Very lovable flowers (honey is called acacia honey!), Also used in perfumery and cooking (cake or donuts)
  • Dense, hard and almost rot-proof wood, naturally resistant, often used as a substitute for exotic woods (deck panels, fences, garden furniture. read: Robinia, an alternative to teak), or firewood
  • Its thorns can make it a defensive barrier
  • Its highly developed root system allows stabilize the soil
  • But watch out for its toxicity: bark, leaves and seeds contain proteins that are toxic to humans and animals.

Acacia, Robinia or Mimosa?

The complexity of the names and classifications leads us, in France, to call the Robinia, the Acacia and the true Acacia, the Mimosa of the winter florists or Mimosa! The Acacia genus has more than 1500 species of trees and shrubs in the world (less than 20 are deciduous), such as Mimosa, Mulga or Tamarin. Trees that can reach 30 m in height. Most of the species are thorny, the leaves are composed of numerous pairs of leaflets, globose or spiky yellow flowers, sometimes grouped in hundreds. Flowering is rather spring, but it is not uncommon to see inflorescences throughout the year.

Acacia Robinia is one of the first forest species imported from the New World. It bears its name in memory of Jean Robin, botanist and gardener Henri IV, who introduced it to France. The first specimen, planted around 1600, placed Dauphine in Paris, moved to the Jardin des Plantes in 1635, is still there!

Robinia Pseudoacacia

Deciduous tree, native to North America, which reaches 20-25 m in height.

Robinia is a fast growing species.
In general it is a tree very vigorous, it can develop without problems even in unfavorable places, shaded or swept by strong winds.
Bear very well there saltiness and pollution, for this reason it is sometimes used as road trees.
The black locust does not fear the coldand generally does not require watering.
Necessity of loose, well-drained and very deep soils, but it develops without problems in any soil, as long as it has enough space to develop a robust and deep root system, and possibly a sunny position.
Before carrying out the plant, it would be advisable, however, to prepare the soil by cleaning it from weeds, working it in depth and digging the holes that will house the plants. The supply of mature manure is always positive for the purpose of good rooting and good growth.
The transplant can be carried out both in winter, when the plants are bare, and in spring when the climatic conditions stop being excessively harsh, choosing well-sunny spaces. Burying must be carried out up to the collar, slightly compressing the soil on the root systems.
Being minimum water requirementsof Robinia, it is useless to arrange irrigation systems, if necessary, attention will be paid to ensuring water in the early stages of growth, in the driest months, even with sporadic manual interventions.

Generally these plants are not affected by the attack of parasites and diseases, although sometimes the mining larvae can ruin many leaves.

I flowers to make liqueurs e jams, pancakes, and a excellent honey, often monofloro honey is also valuable because it does not crystallize over time.
The dried flowers mixed with other essences are used as a relaxing herbal tea.
All the rest of the plant is toxic, except for rabbits and other animal species.
The piperonal, an aroma, is extracted from the flowers and can be used as a vanilla substitute.
The seeds are edible and, after cooking, have been used as sources of caloric intake in times of food crisis thanks to their good content in nutrients.

Various toxic alkaloids are contained in the bark, leaves and roots.
All parts of the plant, except the flowers, must be considered more or less toxic and, although many of the toxins are destroyed by heat, this species is not suitable for use in self-medication and must be taken under medical supervision.
Furthermore, the plant is included in the list of the Ministry of Health among the species not allowed for use in the food supplements sector.
THE flowers they have antispastic, aromatic, diuretic, emollient and laxative properties.
Folk medicine used the bark as an emetic, purgative and tonic.
The leaves they were used as cholagogues and emetics, the juice of the leaves as an antiviral and the flowers, cooked and eaten, were used to relieve eye infections.
It is believed that the infusion of flowers is useful in case of severe nausea and also in case of fungal intoxication.

The genus name remembers Jean Robin, curator of the Botanical Garden of the kings of France, who introduced this plant to Europe in 1601.
The tree planted in Paris is still alive and represents the oldest R. pseudoacacia in Europe in Italy this species was planted for the first time in 1662 in the Botanical Garden of Padua.
The wood, greenish-yellow or olive-brown in color, has a rather coarse grain and breaks easily, but resists well outdoors: therefore it is used for poles, for example in viticulture it is used in carpentry because, due to its resistance, it is suitable the construction of parts subject to heavy wear is also good fuel, which burns even when cut even if it has the defect of crackling while burning.
THE seedsthey are very hard and are used for necklaces.
Has radicthe very resistant: in the Ligurian hinterland and in Val Bormida, they were used as laces for boots

Robinia pseudoacacia

Robinia pseudoacacia, or Black Locust, is a deciduous, flowering tree that may grow 50 to 70 feet tall and a trunk diameter of 3 to 4 feet. It is a native forest tree in the mountains of North Carolina, however, it is widely planted throughout the state and is now naturalized to all soil and water conditions, except for saturated soils. In other parts of the state, Black Locust can be found in thickets on clay banks or waste areas or along fence rows. It is a relatively short-lived tree with about a 90 year life span.

The leaves are alternate, pinnately compound with 7 to 21 leaflets. The bark is gray or light brown, thick, fibrous, heavily ridged, and furrowed. In spring and early summer, fragrant, pea-like white flowers, borne in long (5 inch) hanging clusters mature. The tree produces a 2 to 4 inch flattened legume which contains 4 to 8 red-brown seeds.

Black Locust grows in a variety of soil types and has the ability to fix nitrogen in the soil, so it is sometimes used to reclaim soil banks in abandoned sites. This is a good plant for difficult sites, transplants well, and tends to reseed. It develops shoots from roots. It is also a legume, fixes its own nitrogen and is moderately salt tolerant. Species trees are sometimes considered to be somewhat weedy. Trees send out long underground root suckers that not only become a maintenance problem but also can disrupt nearby gardening areas. Robinia pseudoacacia can be pruned and kept at shrub size by cutting them to the ground every 2-3 years, but pruning should be avoided in the spring as the tree will bleed. This tree is not usually recommended for the landscape because it tends to be invasive, is thorny, and has brittle branches that can break off in the wind.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:

It is susceptible to locust borer (often fatal) and locust leaf miner (browns foliage). Other insect problems include caterpillars, weevils, scale and whiteflies. Possible disease problems include canker, powdery mildew, leaf spots, wood rots and verticillium wilt. Small branches of the Black locust fall easily during storms. Some of its leaves yellow and fall off during times of drought.

Mature form Photo by Sandy Richard CC BY-NC 2.0 White flower close-up (Guilford County, NC) -Mid Spring Douglas Goldman, USDA CC BY-NC 4.0 Raceme of flowers (Guilford County, NC) -Mid Spring Douglas Goldman, USDA CC BY-NC 4.0 Side view of flowers (Guilford County, NC) -Mid Spring Douglas Goldman, USDA CC BY-NC 4.0 Robinia pseudoacacia flower detail Photo by Kristine Paulus CC BY 2.0 Raceme of flowers Photo by Thayne Tuason CC BY-NC 2.0 Form Jim Robbins CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Flower Form Jim Robbins CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Flowers Jim Robbins CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 'Purple Robe' Tree Line Jim Robbins CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 'Purple Robe' Full Form Jim Robbins CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Tree height (Buncombe, NC) Randy Harter CC BY 4.0 Form in fall (Buncombe, NC) Randy Harter CC BY 4.0 Flower and Leaves (Warren County, NC) - Spring Cathy Dewitt CC BY 4.0 Flower close-up (Warren County, NC) -Spring Cathy Dewitt CC BY 4.0

The Rpf84 gene, encoding a ribosomal large subunit protein, RPL22, regulates symbiotic nodulation in Robinia pseudoacacia



  • 1 State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology in Arid Areas, Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Agricultural and Environmental Microbiology, College of Life Sciences, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, 712100, China.
  • 2 College of Medical Technology, Shaanxi University of Chinese Medicine, Xianyang, 712046, China.
  • 3 State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology in Arid Areas, Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Agricultural and Environmental Microbiology, College of Life Sciences, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, 712100, China. [email protected]

Video: Robinia pseudoacacia Frisia

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