IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

Comprehensive Description

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The most striking aspect of this shrub consists of the bristly purple-brown hairs that cover young stems, pedicels, calyces, and seedpods. These hairs probably discourage herbivory by some insects and deter nectar-robbing of the flowers by ants. Another species in this genus with a similar appearance is Robinia viscosa (Clammy Locust). While stems, calyces, seedpods, etc. of this shrub are covered by short sticky glands, they lack the long purple-brown hairs of Bristly Locust. Another species, Robinia pseudoacacia (Black Locust), is a tree that has spread northward into all areas of Illinois. This tree also lacks the long purple-brown hairs of Bristly Locust and its flowers are white, rather than rosy pink. In its native range in southeastern United States, Bristly Locust is a rather variable shrub and different varieties have been described. The typical variety (var. hispida) has been described here because it is more often encountered than other varieties of this shrub.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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