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Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)

A rapidly growing tree native to southeastern North America, black locust is loved by many as an elegant ornamental of parks and city streets.
Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) at Kew Gardens

Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) at Kew Gardens

Species information

Scientific name: 

Robinia pseudoacacia L.

Common name: 

black locust, false acacia

Conservation status: 

Least Concern (LC) according to IUCN Red List criteria.

Habitat: 

Dry, sandy and rocky habitats; scrub and woodland margins and roadsides; widely cultivated as an ornamental tree in streets and parks.

Key Uses: 

Ornamental, timber, soil enrichment, bee forage for honey production, perfume.

Known hazards: 

See below.

Taxonomy

Subclass: 
Superorder: 
Rosanae
Order: 
Fabales
Family: 
Leguminosae/ Fabaceae - Papilionoideae
Genus: Robinia

About this species

Black locust is a rapidly growing, deciduous tree that is native to North America. This member of the pea and bean family (Leguminosae) was first introduced to Europe from North America at the beginning of the 17th century. Its hanging clusters of scented, white flowers are a common sight in streets and parks in England in June and July. Black locust, especially in its many named cultivars, has become a much-loved ornamental in western European gardens. Its cultivars include pink-flowered and metallic, yellowish-green leafleted forms. Despite its popularity as an ornamental, it can become invasive due to its prolific seed production, and it also spreads aggressively by suckering from the roots.

Synonym: 

Robinia pseudacacia L. (a spelling variant, which is often encountered in botanical literature).

Genus: 
Robinia

main info

Courses at Kew

Kew offers a variety of specialist training courses in horticulture, conservation and plant science.

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