Shrubs of Wisconsin

Robinia hispida L.
birstly locust
Family: Fabaceae
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Robinia hispida can be recognized by the compound alternate leaves and bristly stems with stronger paired thorns at the nodes. The similar Robinia pseudoacacia lacks the bristles on the branches and has broader-based, paired thorns at the nodes. Plants are small, generally less than 3 meters tall, and spread vegetatively to form conspicuous clones.

Robinia hispida is an alien species planted for decoration, and escaping locally. It appears that it is invasive, especially on sandy soils. The known distribution in Wisconsin is limited, but it appears to be spreading and it should probably be removed where it escapes from cultivation. In addition to the documented locations shown on the map, I have also seen it in Door and Marinette counties.

known Wisconsin distribution


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