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Black Locust
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Robinieae
Genus: Robinia
Species: R. pseudoacacia
Binomial name
Robinia pseudoacacia

Robinia pseudoacacia, commonly known as the Black Locust, is a tree in the subfamily Faboideae of the pea family Fabaceae. It is native to the southeastern United States, but has been widely planted and naturalized elsewhere in temperate North America, Europe and Asia and is considered an invasive species in some areas. A less frequently used common name is False Acacia, which is a literal translation of the specific epithet. It was introduced into Britain in 1636.



With a trunk up to 0.8 m diameter (exceptionally up to 52 m tall[1] and 1.6 m diameter in very old trees), with thick, deeply furrowed blackish bark. The leaves are 10–25 cm long, pinnate with 9–19 oval leaflets, 2–5 cm long and 1.5–3 cm broad. Each leaf usually has a pair of short thorns at the base, 1–2 mm long or absent on adult crown shoots, up to 2 cm long on vigorous young plants. The intensely fragrant flowers are white, borne in pendulous racemes 8–20 cm long, and are considered edible. The fruit is a legume 5–10 cm long, containing 4–10 seeds.

Although similar in general appearance to Honey locust, it lacks that tree's characteristic long branched spines on the trunk, instead having the pairs of short thorns at the base of each leaf; the leaflets are also much broader.

Native from Pennsylvania to northern Georgia and westward as far as Arkansas and Oklahoma, but has been widely spread. Reaches the height of seventy feet with a trunk three or four feet in diameter, with brittle branches that form an oblong narrow head. Spreads by underground shoots. The leaflets fold together in wet weather, also at night; some change of position at night is the habit of the entire leguminous family.

  • Bark: Dark gray brown tinged with red, deeply furrowed, surface inclined to scale. Branchlets at first coated with white silvery down. This soon disappears and they become pale green, afterward reddish brown. Prickles develop from stipules, are short, somewhat triangular, dilated at base, sharp, dark purple, adhering only to the bark, but persistent.
  • Wood: Pale yellowish brown; heavy, hard, strong, close-grained and very durable in contact with the ground. Sp. gr., 0.7333; weight of cu. ft., 45.70 lbs.
  • Winter buds: Minute, naked, three or four together, protected in a depression by a scale-like covering lined on the inner surface with a thick coat of tomentum and opening in early spring; when forming are covered by the swollen base of the petiole.
  • Leaves: Parallel, compound, odd-pinnate,21-40 inches long, with slender hairy petioles, grooved and swollen at the base. Leaflets petiolate, seven to nine, one to two inches long, one-half to three-fourths of an inch broad, emarginate or rounded at apex. They come out of the bud conduplicate, yellow green, covered with silvery down which soon disappears; when full grown are dull dark green above, paler beneath. Feather-veined, midvein prominent. In autumn they turn a clear pale yellow. Leafs out relatively late in spring. Stipules linear, downy, membranous at first, ultimately developing into hard woody prickles, straight or slightly curved. Each leaflet has a minute stipel which quickly falls and a short petiole.
  • Flowers: May or June, after the leaves. Papilionaceous. Perfect, borne in loose drooping racemes four to five inches long, cream-white, about an inch long, nectar bearing, fragrant. Pedicels slender, half an inch long, dark red or reddish green.
  • Calyx: Campanulate, givvous, hairy, five-toothed, slightly two-lipped, dark green blotched with red, especially on the upper side teeth valvate in bud.
  • Corolla: Imperfectly papilionaceous, petals inserted upon a tubular disk; standard white with pale yellow blotch; wings white, oblong-falcate; keel petals incurved, obtuse, united below.
  • Stamens: Ten, inserted, with the petals, diadelphous, nine inferior, united into a tube which is cleft on the upper side, superior one free at the base. Anthers two-celled, cells opening longitudinally.
  • Pistil: Ovary superior, linear-oblong, stipitate, one-celled; style inflexed, long, slender, bearded; stigma capitate; ovules several, two-ranked.
  • Fruit: legume two-valved, smooth three to four inches long and half an inch broad, usually four to eight seeded. Ripens late in autumn and hangs on the branches until early spring. Seeds dark orange brown with irregular markings. Cotyledons oval, fleshy.[2]


Black locust is a major honey plant in eastern USA, and, having been taken and planted in France, is the source of the renowned acacia monofloral honey from France. Flowering starts after 140 growing degree days. However, its blooming period is short (about 10 days) and it does not consistently produce a honey crop year after year. Weather conditions can have quite an effect on the amount of nectar collected as well; in Ohio state for example, good honey locust flow happens once a year out of five years[3].

In Europe it is often planted alongside streets and in parks, especially in large cities, because it tolerates pollution well. The species is unsuitable for small gardens due to its large size and rapid growth, but the cultivar 'Frisia', a selection with bright yellow-green leaves, is occasionally planted as an ornamental tree.

Black locust has nitrogen-fixing bacteria on its root system; for this reason it can grow on poor soils and is an early colonizer of disturbed areas.

In 1900 it was reported that the value of Robinia pseudacacia is practically destroyed in nearly all parts of the United States beyond the mountain forests which are its home by locust borers which riddle the trunk and branches. Were it not for these insects it would be one of the most valuable timber trees that could be planted in the northern and middle states. Young trees grow quickly and vigorously for a number of years, but soon become stunted and diseased, and rarely live long enough to attain any commercial value.[2]

Flavonoids content

Black locust leaves contain flavone glycosides characterised by spectroscopic and chemical methods as the 7-O-β-d-glucuronopyranosyl-(1 → 2)[α-l-rhamnopyranosyl-(1 → 6)]-β-d-glucopyranosides of acacetin (5,7-dihydroxy-4′-methoxyflavone), apigenin (5,7,4′-trihydroxyflavone), diosmetin (5,7,3′-trihydroxy-4′-methoxyflavone) and luteolin (5,7,3′,4′-tetrahydroxyflavone)[4].


Black locust is a ring-porous hardwood.

The wood is extremely hard, resistant to rot and long lasting, making it prized for fence posts and small watercraft. As a young man, Abraham Lincoln spent much of his time splitting rails and fence posts from black locust logs. Flavonoids in the heartwood allow the wood to last over 100 years in soil.[5] In the Netherlands and some other parts of Europe, black locust is the most rot-resistant local tree, and projects have started to limit the use of tropical wood by promoting this tree and creating plantations. It is one of the heaviest and hardest woods in North America.

Black Locust is highly valued as firewood for wood-burning stoves; it burns slowly, with little visible flame or smoke, and has a higher heat content than any other species that grows widely in the Eastern United States, comparable to the heat content of anthracite".[6] It is most easily ignited by insertion into a hot stove with an established coal bed.[citation needed] For best results it should be seasoned like any other hardwood, however black locust is also popular because of its ability to burn even when wet.[7] In fireplaces it can be less satisfactory because knots and beetle damage make the wood prone to "spitting" coals for distances of up to several feet.[citation needed] If the Black Locust is cut, split, and cured while relatively young (within ten years), thus minimizing beetle damage, "spitting" problems are minimal.

It is also planted for firewood because it grows rapidly, is highly resilient in a variety of soils, and it grows back even faster from its stump after harvest by using the existing root system.[8]

With fertilizer prices rising, the importance of black locust as a nitrogen-fixing species is also noteworthy. The mass application of fertilizers in agriculture and forestry is increasingly expensive; therefore nitrogen-fixing tree and shrub species are gaining importance in managed forestry.[7]



Like the honey locust, the black locust reproduces through its distinctive hanging pods. Black locust's pods are smaller and lighter, and thus easily carried long distances by the wind. Unlike the pods of the honey locust, but like those of the related European Laburnum, the black locust's pods are toxic. In fact, every part of the tree, especially the bark, is considered toxic, with the exception of the flowers. However, various reports have suggested that the seeds and the young pods of the black locust can be edible when cooked, since the poisons that are contained in this plant are decomposed by heat. Horses that consume the plant show signs of anorexia, depression, diarrhea, colic, weakness, and cardiac arrhythmia. Symptoms usually occur about 1 hour following consumption, and immediate veterinary attention is required.


The name locust is said to have been given to Robinia by Jesuit missionaries, who fancied that this was the tree that supported St. John in the wilderness, but it is native only to North America. The locust tree of Spain (Ceratonia siliqua or Carob Tree), which is also native to Syria, is supposed to be the true locust of the New Testament; the fruit of this tree may be found in the shops under the name of St. John's bread.[2]

Robinia is now a North American genus, but traces of it are found in the Eocene and Miocene rocks of Europe.[2]

In Slovakia, it is known as Agat, thus the name Pod Agatmi of a certain pub in Nitra, which is situated under a hill with Robinia trees.

See also

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Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Robinia pseudoacacia


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Fabales
Familia: Fabaceae
Subfamilia: Faboideae
Tribus: Robinieae
Genus: Robinia
Species: Robinia pseudoacacia


Robinia pseudoacacia L.


  • Pseudacacia vulgaris Medik.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. typica Aschers. & Graebn.
  • Pseudacacia odorata Moench
  • Robinia acacia L.
  • Robinia amorphifolia C.Koch
  • Robinia angulata C.Koch
  • Robinia aurea C.Koch
  • Robinia bessoniana C.Koch
  • Robinia bullata C.Koch
  • Robinia camusetii Leroy. ex C.Koch
  • Robinia coluteoides C.Koch
  • Robinia cornigera C.Koch
  • Robinia crispa C.Koch
  • Robinia cylindrica C.Koch
  • Robinia dissecta (K.Koch) Verlot
  • Robinia echinata Miller
  • Robinia edwardsiifolia Verlot
  • Robinia fastigiata Verlot
  • Robinia fragilis Salisbury nom. illeg.
  • Robinia inermis Jacquin
  • Robinia jaspidea Verlot
  • Robinia latisiliqua Verlot
  • Robinia linearis Hort. ex K.Koch, Dendrologie 1: 56. 1869.
  • Robinia ludoviciana Raf., Fl. Ludov. 164. 1817.
  • Robinia microphylla Hort. ex Loudon, Hort. Brit. (Loudon), ed. 3. 667. 1839 ; second additional supplement, nom. illeg. non Pall. (1800-1803).
  • Robinia monophyllus Hort. ex K.Koch, Dendrologie 1: 56. 1869.
  • Robinia myrtifolia hort.
  • Robinia patula Verlot
  • Robinia pendula Orteg.
  • Robinia pinnata Hort. ex Steud., Nomencl. Bot. (Steudel) 693; ed. 2, 2: 461. 1821.
  • Robinia pringlei Rose
  • Robinia procera Lodd. ex G.Don
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. amorphifolia (Lam. ex Loud.) K.Koch
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. aurea (G.Kirchn.) Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. bessoniana (G.Nichols.) Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. coluteoides (F.Neumann) Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. crispa (DC.) Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. decaisneana (Carrière) Voss
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. dependens Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. dissecta K.Koch
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. erecta Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. fastigiata Dieck
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. frisia W.Jansen ex D.Geerinck
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. glaucescens K.Koch
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. goudouinii (G.Kirchn.) K.Koch
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. inermis (DC.) Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. linearis (G.Kirchn.) Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. microphylla (Lodd. ex Loud.) Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. myrtifolia (K.Koch) Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. normalis Voss
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. oswaldiae Oswald
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. pendula (Ortega) Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. pendula Dieck
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. purpurea (Dippel) Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. pyramidalis (Pepin) Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. rehderi C.K.Schneid.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. revoluta K.Koch
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. rozynskiana (Spaeth) Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. semperflorens (Carrière) Voss
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. stricta (Hoffmanns.) Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. tortuosa (DC.) Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. ulriciana (Reuter ex Hartwig) Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. umbraculifera (DC.) Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia f. unifoliola (Talou) Rehder
  • Robinia pseudoacacia subf. umbraculifera (DC.) Voss
  • Robinia pseudoacacia subsp. crispa (DC.) Arcangeli
  • Robinia pseudoacacia subsp. inermis (Jacquin) Arcangeli
  • Robinia pseudoacacia subsp. tortuosa (Hoffmanns.) Arcangeli
  • Robinia pseudoacacia subsp. umbraculifera (DC.) Arcangeli
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. aurea G.Kirchn.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. aureovariegata C.K.Schneid.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. bessoniana G.Nichols.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. bullata C.K.Schneid.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. coluteoides F.Neumann
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. crispa DC.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. dissecta (K.Koch) G.Nichols.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. fastigiata (Verlot) G.Nichols.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. fastigiata F.Neumann
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. fastigiata Lem.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. goudouinii G.Kirchn.
  • Robinia pseudo-acacia var. inermis (Ortega) DC.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. inermis DC.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. linearis G.Kirchn.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. macrophylla Lodd. ex Loud.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. microphylla Lodd. ex Loud.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. monophylla Koehne
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. monstrosa Lodd. ex Loud.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. myritfolia K. Koch
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. pendula (Ortega) Loud.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. pendulifolia G.Kirchn.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. purpurea Dippel
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. pyramidalis Pepin
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. rectissima Raber
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. rozynskiana Spaeth
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. semperflorens Carrière
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. sophorifolia Lodd. ex Loud.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. spectabilis (Dum.-Cours.) Loud.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. stricta (Hoffmanns.) Lam. ex Loud.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. tragacanthoides G.Kirchn.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. ulriciana Reuter ex Hartwig
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. umbraculifera (DC.) DC.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. unifoliola Talou
  • Robinia pseudoacacia var. uterhartii (Poit.) Pepin
  • Robinia pyramidalis (Pepin) Verlot, Rev. Hort. 155. 1878.
  • Robinia sophorifolia Hort. ex Steud., Nomencl. Bot. [Steudel] 693. 1821.
  • Robinia spectabilis Dum.-Cours.
  • Robinia stricta Hoffmgg.
  • Robinia tortuosa Hoffmgg.
  • Robinia umbraculifera DC.
  • Robinia umbraculifera Loud.
  • Robinia undulata Hort. ex C Koch, Dendrologie 1: 56. 1869.
  • Robinia uterhartii Poit.



  • Species Plantarum 2:722. 1753
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Data from 07-Oct-06]. 5238

Vernacular names

Български: Robinia, біла акація, акация
Česky: Trnovník akát
Српски / Srpski: Багрем
Dansk: Almindelig Robinie; Robinie
Deutsch: (Gewöhnliche) Robinie; Scheinakazie, falsche Akazie (Falschname)
Eesti: harilik robiinia, valge akaatsia
Ελληνικά: ψευδοακακία
English: Black Locust; Robinia; false Acacia
Español: Robinia, acacia de flor blanca, acácia,
Français: robinier faux-acacia, acacia
Gaeilge: robinia, black locust, false acacia, yellow locust
한국어: 아까시나무
Italiano: Robinia,Cascia,Gaggia,Robinia pseudoacacia, Falsa acacia
Latviešu: baltā robīnija
Lietuvių: robinija; Baltažiedė robinija
Magyar: Akác, Fehér Akác
Nederlands: Robinia; Witte acacia, Valse Acacia
日本語: ニセアカシア
Polski: Robinia, Robinia akacjowa (acacja biala, grochodrzew biały, robinia biała, grochodrzew akacjowaty)
Português: Acácia bastarda, acácia, Robínia, Falsa-acácia
Română: Salcâm
Русский: Робиния псевдоакация, Робиния лжеакация, Робиния обыкновенная
සිංහල: Agát biely
Suomi: Valeakaasia
Svenska: Robinia
Tiếng Việt: Dương hòe
Türkçe: Beyaz çiçekli yalancı akasya, Beyaz salkım
Українська: Акація біла
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Robinia pseudoacacia on Wikimedia Commons.


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