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Robinia hispida (Bristly locust)
Flaigg, Norman G.

Robinia hispida

Robinia hispida L.

Bristly Locust, Standing Sweet Pea

Fabaceae (Pea Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (I)

Bristly locust is a much-branched, erect shrub, up to 10 feet tall, forming colonies from root sprouts. Stems and branches are stiff, hairy, coarse, and bristly. Leaves are compound, alternate, deciduous, and densely hairy, divided into 7-19 leaflets, 1 1/2-2 inches long. Flowers are in clusters that hang from the leaf axil, dark pink to rose or orchid. They are 2-lipped, the upper lip shorter than the lower.

This shrub has been planted for erosion control; in the north it is planted along highways where it acts as a snow fence.


From the Image Gallery

7 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 10 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul


USA: AL , AR , CO , CT , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV
Native Distribution: Mts. from VA to KY, s. to GA & AL; introduced elsewhere
Native Habitat: Open woods; mt. slopes; sand hills

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Sandy or thin soils.
Conditions Comments: Because the flowers last a short time, this shrub is more functional than ornamental. Its ability to form dense thickets has made it useful in stabilizing dry, sandy areas and preventing erosion. Suffers from frequent disease and insect problems and needs protection from wind, as it is easily broken.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Honey Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Propagate by seed or from spring root cuttings. Cuttings should be stored in cool, dry sand for three weeks before planting.
Seed Treatment: Mechanical or acid scarification or a hot water soak is necessary due to impermeable seed coats.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.


Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Robinia hispida in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Robinia hispida in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Robinia hispida


Record Modified: 2022-10-20
Research By: TWC Staff

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