Robinia pseudoacacia L.

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English Black locust, false acacia Status LU: established. 1st record: 1787.
Lëtzebuergesch Schäin-Akazi Status EU: established.
Français Robinier faux-acacia, acacia RA: ISEIA: A3, Black List. Harmonia+: 0,53.
Deutsch Gewöhnliche Robinie, Falsche Akazie Wikipedia: Wikipedia - English - False Acacia Wikipedia - Français - Robinier faux-acacia Wikipedia - Deutsch - Gewöhnliche Robinie Wikipedia - Nederlands - Robinia | Wikispecies: Wikispecies - Robinia pseudoacacia | CABI
Nederlands Robinia, valse acacia Back to the list of neophytes

Report the species

Report Robinia pseudoacacia to the National Museum of Natural History.

Brief description

Robinia-pseudoacacia-12-V-2007-6025Robinia pseudoacacia L. is an early successional plant, preferring full sun, well drained soils, and little competition. It reproduces both from seed and by sprouting from the roots or stump. Although this tree produces abundant seeds, germination rate is often low in our climatic conditions [Belgium]. The area potentially invaded is likely to increase considerably under a warmer climate. Once introduced, the black locust expands readily by root suckering and stump sprouting and forms dense clones creating shaded islands from which most native plants are outcompeted. It also modifies soil properties and favours the development of a nitrogen-demanding vegetation. The large, fragrant blossoms of R. pseudoacacia are sometimes reported to compete with native plants for pollinating bees (Branquart et al. 2015).

Status and distribution in Luxembourg

Records of Robinia pseudoacacia L. in Luxembourg. Data source: Recorder-Lux, iNaturalist & GBIF, 2020-10-31.

Tinant (1836: 371) mentions “Robinia Pseudo-Acacia” as a naturalised exotic tree.

In 1860, Eugène Fischer reports that Jean-Mathias de Blochausen brought back several tree species from a journey to Italy in 1669, including false acacia and Italian poplar, the latter for roadside planting (Fischer 1860: 178-181). 1 Around 1872, according to the same Eugène Fischer (1872: 37-38), “it is frequently and advantageously cultivated on our slopes, poor iridescent marls, in groves, promontories, and it is sometimes even used to make fence hedges. The first Robinia trees planted in the Grand Duchy were imported from Italy around 1669 by a de Blochausen. For more than a century this tree was still rare in the country, since Mr. de la Fontaine, former governor of the Grand Duchy, mentioned, as one of the first subjects of this tree in our country, an acacia tree planted in 1787 by Mr. Baron de Maréchal in the garden dependent on Stadtbredimus castle”. 2 (see also: Fontaine 1862: 89).

This year, 1669, mentioned by Fischer, appears to be an error: the facts related are dated in the wrong century as the Family de Blochausen only arrived in Luxembourg around 1764, when Marie-Gisberte de Blochausen bought the Domaine de Brückenberg in Colmar-berg and Jean-Mathias de Blochausen bought the Rollingen forge. We therefore guess that it should read 1769 instead of 1669, which would also be in line with two reports of first planting in 1787 in Stadtbredimus (Fischer 1872: 37-38) and at Kaaschtel near Altwies (Commune de Mondorf 2013, Wikipedia Luxembourg 2013). So we consider 1787 as the year of first record in Luxembourg until historic research brings new evidence.

Oldest herbarium specimens at the MNHNL:

  • June 1883: Edmond Joseph Klein (1866-1942) collected a specimen in the district Pulvermühl in Luxembourg City (Specimen № 16553, MNHNL 2000-)
  • 24 May 1934: J. Witry collected a specimen in Rumelange (Specimen № 51811, MNHNL 2000-)
  • 18 May 1952: Marcel Etringer collected a specimen in Groeknapp in Graulinster, municipality of Junglinster (Specimen № 49906, MNHNL 2000-)

1346 records are accessible through the MNHNL-mdata portal (MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF 2019).

False acacia is a common ornamental tree in Luxembourg, and also occurs widely in the wild, mostly along roadside slopes and railway lines. The distribution map does not reflect the real distribution in the country: the species is so widespread that it is hardly reported any more. An inventory in 2013 revealed the false acacia to be one of the most common invasive alien vascular plant species along railways (Pfeiffenschneider et al. 2014b).

Until 2013 black locust was not considered an invasive alien species in Luxembourg by the Nature Conservation and Forestry Administration 3.


  • The false acacia plays a role in honey production in Luxembourg.
  • Acacia wood is used for various purposes: it is sought after for resistance parts, tool handles, etc. Its leaves provide excellent forage and its flowers are gleaned by bees (Krombach 1875: 115). 4
  • Next to the Kaaschtel, a former oppidum across the French border southeast of Altwies on former Luxembourg territory in Lorraine, France, a few huge and very old individuals of Robinia can be found. A legend says the Lord of Preisch brought them from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and had them planted in 1787 (Commune de Mondorf 2013, Wikipedia Luxembourg 2013).

Other Robinia cultivars and taxa

  • The flowerless cultivar ‘Umbraculifera’ has been cultivated in Luxembourg for a long time (Koltz 1873: 43; 1875) and is quite common all across the country (Welter et al. 2008: 72). A beautiful example can be seen in the court of the National Centre of Literature in Mersch. 5 Koltz (1873: 43) lists Robinia pseudo-acacia var. umbraculifera Des. as a variety (Fr: Acacien boule). According to Krombach (1875: 115) the cultivar ‘Umbraculifera’ (Fr: Acacia parasol) was grown in gardens under the French names of “Acacia boule” or “Acacia fourrage”.
  • Recently there has been an increase in the cultivar ‘Unifoliola’, as more street and alignment trees have been observed (Welter et al. 2008).
  • Robinia viscosa Vent., another North American species, is very rare in Luxembourg (Welter et al. 2008).
  • Lambinon & Verloove (2012: 392) mention cultivated less spiny and less flowering intraspecific taxa, that can be combined under the name Robinia pseudoacacia var. inermis; furthermore some other pink-flowered representatives of the genus Robinia are sometimes grown for ornamental purposes in parks and especially along avenues, including R. ×ambigua Poiret (R. pseudoacacia × viscosa Vent.) and R. hispida L..
  • Koltz (1873: 43) lists Robinia viscosa Vent. (Fr: Acacien [sic!] rose). Krombach (1875: 115) mentions R. viscosa with viscous branches and pink flowers in short bunches.

Risk assessment

ISEIA protocol

A3 (2+3+3+3) = Black List (Ries et al. 2013: 19).

Harmonia+ protocol

Overall risk score 0,53 = (Overall Invasion score 0,89 x Overall Impact score 0,60) (Ries et al. 2020).


Worldwide distribution


  • Branquart, E., S. Vanderhoeven, W. Van Landuyt, F. Van Rossum & F. Verloove, 2015. Harmonia database: Robinia pseudoacacia L. Harmonia version 1.2, Belgian Forum on Invasive Species. URL: [accessed on 2019-10-23]
  • CABI, 2019. Robinia pseudoacacia. In: Invasive Species Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CAB International. URL: [accessed 2020-03-02]
  • Commune de Mondorf, 2013. Le Castel – De Kaaschtel. URL: [2013-09-27].
  • Fischer, E., 1860. Notices historiques sur la situation agricole du grand-duché de Luxembourg. 2e édition, 254 p. Luxembourg : imprimerie Buck.
  • Fischer, E., 1872. Les plantes subspontanées et naturalisées de la flore du grand-duché de Luxembourg. Publications de l’Institut royal grand-ducal de Luxembourg, section des sciences naturelles et mathématiques XII: 1-115. Imprimerie V. Buck, Luxembourg.
  • Fontaine, G.T. I. de la, 1862. Robinier – Acacia. Bull. Soc. sci. nat. g.-d. Luxemb. 5 (1857-1862): 89.
  • Koltz, J.-P.-J., 1873. Prodrome de la flore du grand-duché de Luxembourg. Première partie. Plantes phanérogames. Imprimerie V. Buck, Luxembourg. 279 S.
  • Koltz, J.-P.-J., 1875. Dendrologie luxembourgeoise. Catalogue des arbres, arbrissaux et arbustes spontanés, subspontanés ou introduits dans les cultures du Grand-Duché de  Luxembourg. Imprimerie de V. Buck, Luxembourg.
  • Krombach, J.-H.-G., 1875. Flore du grand-duché de Luxembourg. Plantes phanérogames. 564 p. Luxembourg, Imprimerie Joris.
  • Lambinon J. & F. Verloove, 2012. Nouvelle flore de la Belgique, du grand-duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des régions voisines. Sixième édition. Avec la collaboration de L. Delvosalle, B. Toussaint, D. Geerinck, I. Hoste, F. Van Rossum, B. Cornier, R. Schumacker, A. Vanderpoorten et H. Vannerom. Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise. CXXXIX + 1195 pp. ISBN : 9789072619884.
  • MNHNL, 2000-. Robinia pseudoacacia L. in Recorder-Lux, database on the natural heritage of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Musée national d’histoire naturelle, Luxembourg. URL: [Accessed 2019-09-05]
  • MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF, 2019. Robinia pseudoacacia L. in MNHNL-mdata, online portal combining species observation from Recorder-Lux, iNaturalist and GBIF. National Museum of Natural History, Luxembourg. URL: [Accessed 2019-09-06]
  • Pfeiffenschneider, M., P. Gräser & C. Ries, 2014a. Distribution of selected neophytes along the main rivers of Luxembourg. Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 115: 101-108. [PDF 3668 KB]
  • Pfeiffenschneider, M., P. Gräser & C. Ries, 2014b. Distribution of selected neophytes along the national railway network of Luxembourg. Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 115: 95-100. [PDF 1457 KB]
  • Ries, C., Y. Krippel & M. Pfeiffenschneider, 2020. Risk assessment after the Harmonia+ protocol of invasive alien vascular plant species in Luxembourg. Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 122: 197-205. [PDF 132 KB]
  • Ries, C., Y. Krippel, M. Pfeiffenschneider & S. Schneider, 2013. Environmental impact assessment and black, watch and alert list classification after the ISEIA Protocol of non-native vascular plant species in Luxembourg. Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 114: 15-21. [PDF 652 KB]
  • Schneider, N. & T. Walisch, 2009. Sur la présence au Luxembourg d’Obolodiplosis robiniae (Haldeman, 1847) (Insecta, Diptera, Cecidomyiidae). Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 110: 161-166.
  • Tinant, F. A., 1836. Flore luxembourgeoise, ou, Description des plantes phanérogames, recueillies et observées dans le grand-duché de Luxembourg, classées d’après le système sexuel de Linnée. 512 p. Luxembourg, J. P. Kuborn.
  • Welter A., J. Turk & J. Trossen, 2008. Les arbres introduits au Luxembourg. Inventaire des essences arborescentes non indigènes de pleine terre présentes sur le territoire du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg. Ferrantia 53, Musée national d’histoire naturelle, Luxembourg, 111 p. [pdf 9,9 MB]
  • Wikipedia Luxembourg, 2013. Kaaschtel. URL: [2013-09-27].

 Page content last updated on 2020-06-12. Last proofread by Caroline Grounds on 2019-11-21.