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Robinia neomexicana (New mexico locust)
Muller, Thomas L.

Robinia neomexicana

Robinia neomexicana A. Gray

New Mexico Locust, Southwestern Locust, Hojalito

Fabaceae (Pea Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This is a much-branched, thicket-forming shrub, usually 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.


From the Image Gallery

5 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 30 feet tall, usually shorter. Rarely to about 45 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

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


USA: AZ , CA , CO , NM , NV , TX , UT , WY
Native Distribution: Wyoming south through Nevada, Utah, and Colorado to southeastern California, Arizona, New Mexico, west Texas, Sonora, and Chihuahua
Native Habitat: Deserts; mesa; canyons; conifer forests

Growing Conditions

Water 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.


Use Ornamental: 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: yes

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.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Golden Banded-Skipper
(Autochton cellus)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Funereal Duskywing
(Erynnis funeralis)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


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.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Tohono Chul Park, Inc. - Tucson, AZ
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX


Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 297 - Trees of Central Texas (1984) Vines, Robert A.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-10-11
Research By: TWC Staff

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