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Robinia hispida L.
Bristly Locust, Standing Sweet Pea
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
USDA Symbol: ROHI
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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 10 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
DistributionUSA: 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 ConditionsLight 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 InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Honey Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: 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.
BibliographyBibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Robinia hispida in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Robinia hispida in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Robinia hispida
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-20
Research By: TWC Staff