Botanical Name: Robinia neomexicana
Species: R. neomexicana
Common Names: New Mexican locust, New Mexico, Southwest, Desert, Rusby’s locust, Locust Pink, or Rose locust
Habitat :Robinia neomexicana is native to South-western N. America – Texas to New Mexico, Utah and Nevada. It grows on mountain canyons and plains, generally in sunny positions in moist soils by streams, 1200 – 2500 metres.
Robinia neomexicana is a deciduous Tree growing to 2 m (6ft 7in) at a medium rate. It grows with bristly shoots. The leaves are 10–15 cm long, pinnate with 7–15 leaflets; they have a pair of sharp, reddish-brown thorns at the base. The flowers are showy and white or pink, produced in spring or early summer in dense racemes 5–10 cm long that hang from the branches near the ends. The fruits are brown bean-like pods with bristles like those on the shoots. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.
In California, it is uncommon below 1500 m (5000 ft) in canyons in the Mojave Desert and its sky island pinyon-juniper habitats (Pinus monophylla and Juniperus californica). Farther east, it is typically found between 1200 and 2600 meters (4000 and 8500 feet) along streams, in the bottoms of valleys, and on the sides of canyons.
Landscape Uses:Specimen. Succeeds in a hot dry position. Succeeds in any soil, preferring one that is not too rich. Requires a well-drained soil, succeeding on dry barren sites. Plants are tolerant of drought and atmospheric pollution. The branches are brittle and very liable to wind damage. When plants are grown in rich soils they produce coarse and rank growth which is even more liable to wind damage. Plants can be coppiced. Any pruning should be done in late summer in order to reduce the risk of bleeding. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. Special Features: North American native, Naturalizing, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Seed – pre-soak for 48 hours in warm water and sow the seed in late winter in a cold frame. A short stratification improves germination rates and time. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in the following summer. The seed stores for over 10 years. Suckers taken during the dormant season
Flowers – raw or cooked. They can be used as a flavouring in cooked dishes. The flowers can be boiled, then dried and stored for later use. Seedpods – raw or cooked. They are gathered in the fall and eaten when fresh. The pods can also be cooked then dried and stored for later use. Seed – cooked. In New Mexico, Pueblo Native Americans traditionally ate the flowers uncooked.
Medicinal Uses :
Antirheumatic. An emetic, it is used to clear the stomach.
Plants succeed in dry barren sites, their suckering habit making them suitable for stabilizing banks. Wood – tough, elastic and durable. Used for fence posts etc . Mule deer, cattle, and goats browse the plant foliage. Squirrels and quail eat the locust’s seeds
Known Hazards : The bark, root and seed are said to be poisonous
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.