Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Meet The "Idaho Locust" Tree (Robinia × ambigua)

The Idaho Locust -(Robinia × ambigua)- is a hybrid believed to be a cross between a Black Locust and either a Downy Locust or a Bristly Locust. This tree is a member of the Fabacae-Legume family.  The Idaho Locust is a very tolerant tree, it has a high resistance to salt, drought, and alkalinity. Contrary to it's name it is not actually native to Idaho, but planted widely as an ornamental in the semiarid range from Idaho to New Mexico.

Image Citation: http://trivalleywaterwise.com/ Photographer- Seatree Nursery/Frommer

The foliage and flowers are very attractive and are considered the main reason for it's popularity in landscape plantings.  The Twigs and Buds are similar to a Black Locust being moderately stout with short stiff spines growing in pairs at the base of the leaves.The leaves are also similar to the Black Locust being dark green in summer and a yellowish green in the fall.  The leaves grow 8-14 inches long. They have no terminal buds and the lateral buds are hidden under cracks in the bark near leaf scars.  The flowers are beautiful ranging in color from a Rose-pink to a lavender Purple. The flowers are very fragrant and occur in late Spring, hanging in 6-8 inch groupings or racemes. 
Image Citation: Cal Poly - SelecTree. "Robinia × ambigua 'Idahoensis' Photo Record." 1995-2012 - M.Ritter

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