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Robinia hispida - L.

Common Name Bristly locust, Rose-acacia, or Moss locust
Family Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards All parts of this plant are poisonous.
Habitats Thin upland woodlands, woodland edges, thickets, fence rows, roadside embankments, banks of drainage canals, vacant lots, and overgrown waste areas.
Range Native Range: Central and eastern United States
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Robinia hispida Bristly locust, Rose-acacia, or Moss locust

Robinia hispida Bristly locust, Rose-acacia, or Moss locust


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Robinia hispida is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3.5 m (11ft) by 2 m (6ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 5. The flowers are pollinated by Birds, Insects.
It can fix Nitrogen.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


R. hispida var. hispida. R. longiloba Ashe. R. pauciflora Ashe. R. rosea Marshall

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

None Known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Native American Tribe: The Cherokee had several uses for the plant including: Root bark chewed as an emetic. Beaten root held on tooth for toothache. Infusion given to cows as a 'tonic' (brit.org).

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Temperate Plants

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital media.
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Other Uses


Nitrogen fixer. Excellent flowers and foliage. Specimen or screen. Good plant for stabilizing embankments and slopes and for planting in poor, dry soils. Interesting informal hedge. Food and shelter for beneficials including shelter for lacewings and parasitoid wasps. Humingbird nectar plant and bird shelter [1-2] .

Special Uses

Attracts Wildlife  Food Forest  Hedge  Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A shrub or small tree which grows in dry woods and slopes. It has been reported to have occasionally escaped from cultivation. Grow in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers organically rich soils, but tolerates poor, dry soils. Flower: Showy. Bloom: Rosy pink to purplish-red. Bloom Time: May. Fruit: Showy. Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil. As robinias have brittle branches that can be easily damaged by strong winds, it may be necessary to plant them in a protected spot. Otherwise, these are hardy, easily cultivated trees that will thrive in any bright position with moist well-drained soil. They can be pruned when young to establish a strongly branched structure. For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. A clumping plant, forming a colony from shoots away from the crown but with a limited spread [1-2]. The root pattern is stoloniferous rooting from creeping stems above the ground [1-2].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Species are raised from seed. While cuttings will strike, the cultivars are usually grafted onto seedling stocks to ensure superior root systems.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Bristly locust, rose-acacia, moss locust,

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Robinia hispida is native to the United States and Canada, but widely introduced and occurring across Europe and Asia. Native: United States (Wyoming, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Washington, Virginia, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, Georgia, Florida, Connecticut, Colorado, California, Arkansas, Alabama, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina). Non-native: Azerbaijan; Canada (Nova Scotia, Ontario); China; France; Latvia; Lithuania; Ukraine; United States (Vermont, Delaware, Maine); Uzbekistan

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

This plant is listed as a noxious weed in one or more US Midwestern states outside Missouri and should not be moved or grown under conditions that would involve danger of dissemination.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Least Concern.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Robinia fertilisBristly LocustShrub2.0 4-8 MLMHNDM002
Robinia flava Tree0.0 -  LMHSNDM102
Robinia luxuriansNew Mexico locustTree8.0 4-8  LMHSNDM103
Robinia neomexicanaNew Mexico Locust, Rusby's locust, LocustTree2.0 4-8 MLMHSNDM113
Robinia pseudoacaciaBlack Locust, Yellow LocustTree25.0 4-9 FLMHNDM324
Robinia viscosaClammy Locust, Hartweg's locustTree13.0 3-7 MLMHSNDM003

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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