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Muller, Thomas L.
Robinia neomexicana Gray
New Mexico locust, Mescal bean
USDA Symbol: rone
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
This is a much-branched, thicket-forming shrub, 1-10 ft. tall, with reddish-purple branches; pale, rose-pink flowers; and thick, rough-hairy beans. Spiny shrub or small tree with open crown and showy, fragrant, purplish-pink, pea-shaped flowers; often forming thickets.
Spectacular flower displays of New Mexican Locust can be seen at the north rim of Grand Canyon National Park in early summer. It is sometimes planted as an ornamental for the handsome flowers and is also valuable for erosion control, sprouting from roots and stumps and rapidly forming thickets. Livestock and wildlife browse the foliage and cattle relish the flowers. Indians also ate the pods and flowers.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf:
Green Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
AZ , CA , CO , NM , NV , TX , UT , WY Native Distribution:
S. CO & s.w. UT to NV, s. to w. TX, AZ & adjacent Mex. Native Habitat:
Deserts; mesa; canyons; conifer forests USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rocky soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay
Conditions Comments: Seeds are extremely poisonous to humans.
Showy, Attractive, Blooms ornamental, Understory tree,
Erosion control Use Wildlife:
Flowers attract bees and hummingbirds. Browse, Nectar-insects, Fruit-mammals, Fruit-birds Warning:
Seeds contain toxic substances, and a single seed can be fatal if eaten. Leaves can cause skin irritation. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plantís different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil. Conspicuous Flowers:
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
PropagationDescription: Propagate by seed or from spring root cuttings. Cuttings should be stored in cool, dry sand for three weeks before planting.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Mechanical or acid scarification or a hot water soak is necessary due to impermeable seed coats.
Commercially Avail: yes
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Record Modified: 2009-09-06
Research By: TWC Staff