Alien Invasives

Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)


04 October 2016

Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

A neat, deciduous tree normally up to 12 metres tall but in ideal conditions may reach 25 metres. Bark is dark brown and deeply furrowed. It suckers freely to create impenetrable thickets where the young stems and branchlets have nasty thorns. The small, bright green leaves become yellow in autumn. From September to November the trees are covered in white, fragrant flowers in drooping sprays followed by reddish-brown pods. The seeds, leaves and inner bark are poisonous.

Other names
False Acacia, Locust Tree, Yellow Locust (English)
Witakasia, Valsakasia (Afrikaans)
Invasive status
NEMBA Category 1b (proposed)
CARA 2002 Category 2

Black Locust
Originally from
North America
Where is it a problem?
Throughout South Africa
How does it spread?
Seed dispersal and suckers
Why is it a problem?
Dense copses can form by suckering from the roots and can cover vast areas where they compete with and replace indigenous species. Along watercourses they restrict access to water by domestic and wild animals. They are also poisonous to humans and domestic livestock.
Planting alternatives
Ankle Thorn (Acacia robusta), Hook Thorn (Acacia caffra), Weeping Wattle (Peltophorum africanum)
Timber, fuel and ornamental

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