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Robinia pseudoacacia

Robinia pseudoacacia - robinia, black locust or acacia

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Robinia is an American tree species of the legume (Fabaceae) family, valued for its extremely hard and rot-resistant wood. It has been imported into Europe since the 1600s, often escaping into the wild and forming extensive woodlands in places such as Hungary.

Robinia is quick-growing and thrives on a variety of soils. Its roots have bacteria which can fix atmospheric nitrogen, so it is quite happy growing on nutrient-poor soils. In early summer it is covered with the typical pea-like white flowers of the family. In a single summer its shoots can grow several metres, armed with sharp thorns as protection against browsing animals. However, there are no thorns on the deeply grooved trunk, in contrast to its relation the honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos).

In Finland, robinia is not very hardy. Even mature trees can die back to ground level after cold summers, as they need a warm summer and autumn to prepare for winter. However, there are individual specimens which have developed into good trees in the Åland Islands, Korppoo, and Vantaa. Of the tens of robinias planted at Mustila only a few look as if they might develop into trees; if they once suffer frost damage they start to produce masses of suckers and remain shrubby in form.

 

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