False Acacia / Robinia


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Robinia pseudoacacia

Also known as Shipmast Black Locust.

Deciduous spiny nitrogen fixing tree to 25m tall.   Suited to most soil types including nutritionally poor soils. Prefers full sun. Tolerant of frost, drought and atmospheric pollution but intolerant of severe winds in exposed sites. A great pioneer species and one of the most multi-functional plants, making it indispensible in permaculture systems.  Excellent canopy species for forest gardens as much light is filtered through.

Pendulous racemes of fragrant white flowers in summer are both ornamental and fragrant and provide excellent bee fodder – Robinia honey is well known in Europe and USA.  The flowers are delicious battered and fried, and can also be used for a tea, whilst an essential oil from the flowers is highly valued in perfumery.  The seeds can be boiled and used like peas, and flowers, bark and leaves are all said to have medicinal uses.

The tree yields a valuable straight, hard, ground-durable (naturally rot resistant) honey-coloured timber. and is often used to make fence posts and rails. It also makes excellent firewood and can be coppiced.  However the plant itself has a low flammability rating.

As a nitrogen fixer Robinia may help promote growth of nearby plants, and it is also a dynamic mineral accumulator. It is widely used for shelterbelts and windbreaks and can be used for stabilizing banks.

The bark can be used to make paper and also yields a yellow dye. An insecticide can be made from the leaves.

Please note all parts of the plant except the flowers are said to be toxic, though these toxins can be killed by cooking. Caution advised.

PB3, approx 40-90cm . Certified organic plant.