False Acacia tree identification

The False Acacia  Robinia pseudoacacia is also known as a Robinia or Locust Tree. In the eastern USA, where it originates, it is known as the Black Locust. It was introduced to Britain in about 1636. This is not a true acacia. The name ‘false acacia’ comes from the idea that the leaves look like a true acacia. It is now planted on city streets and in gardens as an ornamental tree, often as a variety which does not have spines. False Acacia tree identification – pinnate leaves, cascade of white flowers in spring, brown seed pods in winter, spines on some trees. Click on any photo to enlarge it.

False Acacia tree

This False Acacia tree is still in full leaf in early October.

False Acacia pinnate leaf

The leaf has 9 to 23 smooth edged leaflets which are almost, but not quite, opposite one another. This is a pinnate leaf.

False Acacia bark

The bark is ridged.

False Acacia spines
On city streets a variety is chosen that is spineless but this is ‘grafted’ on to an original spiny False Acacia and if you look at the tree below the graft you will find typical acacia-like spines as shown here.
False Acacia flowers

Flowers appear at the end of May.

False Acacia flowers
The flowers hang down in cascades like this at the end of May and last through June. This type of flower is called a raceme. This is a hanging raceme as opposed to the upright racemes of the Cherry Laurel and Portugal Laurel.
False Acacia seed pods
Each flower develops into a pod up to 10cm long, shown here in September. The pods split open to release seeds in the spring.
False Acacia seed pods in winter
Pods hang on the tree all winter. This photograph was taken in December

A tree in March still bearing last year’s pods.

Buds on spineless branches are very small and difficult to see.

Close-up of a bud.