Ajuntament de Barcelona

Robinia pseudoacacia

Porta de Montjuïc

    Catalan name: 
    Spanish name: 
    English name: 
    Black locust

    According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the conservation status of this plant is least concern.

    Species characteristics
    Eastern and central United States
    Flat meadows with sandy soil

    Deciduous tree 15-20 m tall, with a short trunk and a crown measuring 4-8 m in diameter. The very clefted greyish brown bark has prickles on the young branches.

    The leaves, 15-30 cm long, are alternate and compound, composed of several pairs of oval leaflets and a terminal one, all of them medium to intense green on the upper side and light to greyish-green on the lower side.

    The very fragrant flowers, with yellow-marked white corolla, get into hanging inflorescences 15-20 cm long.

    The fruits are brown legumes, chestnut-brown when mature, 6-10 cm long, with the very dark seeds well marked on the valves.

    Flowering time: 
    Fruiting time: 
    Early autumn
    Uses and properties: 

    Although it loses its leaves very easily, Robinia is one of the most used trees in municipalities (parks, gardens, streets...) because of its variety (pyramidal, rounded, with pink flowers...) and decorativeness as well as for being drought resilient. In Barcelona can be seen in streets and green areas.

    It's also very used in shoulders and slopes, although its violent roots can break the pavement and other architectonical elements


    Its hard and durable wood, up to 125 years, make it a good candidate for being exposed to the elements in places such as pergolas, poles or boats.

    Its edible flowers are also used in medicine.

    History and curiosities: 

    The scientific name of the black locust, Robinia pseudoacacia, consists of the genus name Robinia, dedicated to the French naturalist and gardener Jean Robin (1550-1629), who brought this tree in Europe, and the Latin term pseudoacacia, derived from the prefix pseudo-, "false", and acacia, "acacia".

    In 1601 Jean Robin, Henri the fourth's gardener, received the seeds from Canada and in 1624 he planted the first sapling at the Jardin des Plantes for Paris. Around 1636 it was brought in England and increased its popularity becoming a very cultivated tree during the first half of the 19th century, when the book The English gardener (1829), by William Cobbett, promoted the use of black locust wood as a material to build ships.

    For further information: 

    LÓPEZ GONZÁLEZ, Ginés A. Los árboles y arbustos de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares. (2 vol.) Madrid: Mundi-Prensa, 2001

    THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY. Enciclopedia de plantas y flores. Barcelona: Grijalbo, 1996