Robinia neomexicana – New Mexico Locust
Scientific Name: Robinia neomexicana
Common Names: New Mexico Locust, New Mexican Locust
Duration: Perennial, Deciduous
Growth Habit: Tree, Shrub
Arizona Native Status: Native
Habitat: Upland, Mountain, Riparian. This attractive, sun-loving flowering tree grows in sunny canyons and mountain riparian areas in pinyon-juniper woodlands and coniferous forests. It is especially common along roadsides and in formerly burned areas.
Flower Color: Pink to pale pink, White (uncommon)
Flowering Season: Late spring, Summer
Height: Up to 25 feet (7.6 m) tall, but usually less
Description: The pea-like, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long flowers are in dense, erect to drooping racemes that emerge from the leaf axils. The flowers are followed by plump, green to reddish and drying to brown, non-winged, glandular-hairy or sometimes hairless bean pods containing several large, kidney bean-like seeds. The leaves are green, alternate, up to 1 foot (30 cm) long, and pinnately compound with an odd number of minutely hairy, egg-shaped leaflets. The twigs are grayish brown and have a pair of stout, sharp, curved thorns at the nodes. The young twigs are reddish and glandular-hairy. The bark is grayish, smooth when young, and furrowed when old. The fast-growing plants are suckering and thicket-forming large shrubs or small trees.
The similar Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) is a large tree with dark bark, white or pinkish white flowers, and flat, winged bean pods.
Edible – The flowers are edible and were eaten by Native Americans, but other parts of this plant are highly toxic.
Fragrant – The flowers are fragrant.
Poisonous – The bark, roots, and especially the seeds are poisonous. A single seed may be fatal to a child.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Fabaceae – Pea family
Genus: Robinia L. – locust
Species: Robinia neomexicana A. Gray – New Mexico locust
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