Black locust

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Black locust
Old Common Robinia (Robinia pseudoacacia) in Waterloo (Belgium)

Old Common Robinia ( Robinia pseudoacacia ) in Waterloo (Belgium)

Eurosiden I
Order : Fabales (Fabales)
Family : Legumes (Fabaceae)
Subfamily : Butterflies (Faboideae)
Tribe : Robinieae
Genre : Black locust
Scientific name

The black locust ( Robinia ) are a genus in the subfamily Pea (Faboideae) within the family of legumes (Fabaceae). The genus includes about four (to ten) species originating from North America or Mexico . In Europe one can often find the common black locust ( Robinia pseudoacacia ) imported from North America .


Robinia species are deciduous trees or shrubs . They often form root shoots. The often angular branches have a smooth, bristly or sticky bark. The buds are small and bare and buried in the leaf scars, terminal buds are missing. The leaves are arranged alternately. The leaf blade is pinnate unpaired. The leaflets are short stalked and have entire margins. The stipules are often bristly or transformed into thorns . There are often small stipellas on the leaflets.

The flowers are arranged in lateral, pendulous racemose inflorescences . The bracts are membranous and fall off early. The five sepals stand together like a bell, the two upper calyx lobes are fused together to form a calyx lip. The corolla of the butterfly flowers is white, lavender or purple-pink. The five petals are stalked, the flag is broad and bent back, the wings are bent, the boat is bent inwards and blunt. Of the ten stamens , nine have grown together to form an open tube, one is free. The dust bags are all the same and open with a longitudinal slit. The stalked ovary contains numerous ovules . The stylus is pfriemlich and hairy at the top. The scar is small and terminal.

The legumes , which open into two lobes, are 5 to 10 centimeters long, strongly flattened, narrowly elongated to belt-shaped and more or less constricted between the seeds . The brown seeds are obliquely ovate to kidney-shaped with a length of 4 to 5 centimeters. There is no stanza.


According to the Poisonous Plants List , all parts of the robinia are generally classified as very poisonous.


A cultivated Robinia pseudoacacia in Priverno , Italy

The natural range is in North America and extends south to Mexico.


The genus Robinia belongs to the tribe Robinieae in the subfamily of the butterflies (Faboideae) within the family of the legumes (Fabaceae). The genus Robinia was first published in 1753 by Carl von Linné in his work Species Plantarum . The genus name Robinia was chosen by Linné for the North American species Robinia pseudacacia , which was previously known as Acacia Americana Robini . The genus name honors the French court gardener and director of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris Jean Robin (1550–1629), who is said to have brought the species Robinia pseudacacia from America to France. It is more likely that his son Vespasien Robin (1579–1662) raised this species from seeds he received from America.

Four types are recognized:

Illustration of a branch of bristly black locust ( Robinia hispida ) with inflorescence and leaves
  • Bristly black locust ( Robinia hispida L. ): This 1.5 to 3 meter high shrub is native to the United States, from Virginia to Kentucky.
Inflorescence and leaves of the New Mexico black locust ( Robinia neomexicana )
  • New Mexico black locust ( Robinia neomexicana A. Gray ): This shrub, up to 2 meters high, comes from New Mexico.
  • Common black locust ( Robinia pseudoacacia L. ), also called false acacia , silver rain : It originally comes from the eastern USA. It is a 20 to 25 m high, deciduous deciduous tree that is a bee pasture.
  • Sticky Robinia ( Robinia viscosa Vent. ): This tree, up to 12 meters high, comes from the eastern United States.

There are several hybrids including:

  • Robinia × ambigua Poir. , Parents are Robinia pseudoacacia and Robinia viscosa , a natural cross with range from North Carolina to Alaska.
  • Robinia × holdtii Beissn. , emerged from Robinia neomexicana and Robinia pseudoacacia .
  • Robinia × margaretta Ashe , developed from Robinia hispida and Robinia pseudoacacia .


A special property of robinia wood is its weather resistance, which even exceeds that of native oak. This is why robinia wood is used for willow posts, bridge and footbridge construction and for outdoor constructions. Its sound properties ( xylophones ) are also excellent .

The lush flowering trees are used as ornamental plants in gardens and parks. The flowers are very rich in nectar, so some species are planted as bee pastures . Robinia are also used in homeopathy .


  • Wu Zheng-yi, Peter H. Raven, Deyuan Hong (Eds.): Flora of China . Volume 10: Fabaceae . Science Press / Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing / St. Louis 2010, ISBN 978-1-930723-91-7 , pp. 320 (English).
  • Andreas Roloff , Andreas Bärtels: Flora of the woods. Purpose, properties and use. With a winter key from Bernd Schulz. 3rd, corrected edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5614-6 , pp. 543-546.
  • Helmut Genaust: Etymological dictionary of botanical plant names. 3rd, completely revised and expanded edition. Nikol, Hamburg 2005, ISBN 3-937872-16-7 , p. 540 (reprint from 1996).
  • Max Georg Eiselt, Rudolf Schröder: Deciduous trees. Neumann-Neudamm, Melsungen / Basel / Vienna 1977, ISBN 3-7888-0256-1 .

Web links

Commons : Robinia  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Roloff u. a .: flora of woody plants. P. 543.
  2. a b c d Robinia. In: Flora of China. Volume 10, p. 320.
  3. ^ Poisonous Plants List Poisonous Plants List
  4. Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. 2nd Edition. Springer, 2006, ISBN 0-387-31268-4 , p. 33.
  5. a b c d e f Roloff u. a .: flora of woody plants. Pp. 544-546.
  6. Robinia. In: Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). United States Department of Agriculture, accessed June 9, 2012 .
  7. To be precise: Etymological dictionary of botanical plant names. P. 540.
  8. Enter Robinia in the search mask.
  9. Entry at IPNI.
  10. ^ Robinia Retrieved December 4, 2012.