Flowering Plants/Trees     Back to Honey Plants

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Black Locust (Robinia pseudo-acacia)

This is an outstanding honey tree.  It is native from Pennsylvania to Iowa and southward according to Frank Pellett's American Honey Plants.  It grows best in hilly and waste land areas.   According to John Lovell's book Honey Plants of North America it is native from Pennsylvania to Georgia and westward to Missouri and Arkansas.  It has been naturalized in Canada, New England, and in Northern California.   We have found abundant growth of Black locust stands along the Ohio River River Valley and south into the mountains of Northern Georgia.   Because it is grown for a durable long lasting wood for posts, it has been planted in areas outside the map above.  When this has occurred it will naturalize in those locations.   The tree blossoms from late April to early June starting in the South and progressing northward as the climate changes.  The flowers are white pea shaped hanging in a pendent cluster.   When in full bloom, the fragrant smell is quite noticeable.    Its blooming period is short (about 10 days).  This tree often reaches 70 to 80 feet tall.  Our map shows the major area of growth but it is found in many states as an ornamental  tree.

The page to the left is from Iowa Geological Survey Bulletin No. 7  Honey Plants of Iowa published in 1930 for the Iowa Geological Survey by the state of Iowa.

Described as a tree planted as an ornamental tree in Iowa and as wind breaks.  It has become naturalized in Iowa.


Description of nectar

Honey produced by the bees from the nectar is almost water white.  It granulates very slowly.   It does not consistently produce a honey crop year after year.   Weather conditions can have quite an effect on the amount of nectar collected.  In Ohio, we generally can count on a good honey locust flow in one out of five years.



Description of pollen

The color of the pollen carried back to the hive by the bees is yellow similiar to the patches shown to the left.



Description of pollen grain

A member of the Leguminosae family.  The pollen grain is typical of members of that family.    I have used a student grade compound microscope to view the pollen collected from a black locust tree.  These are photos taken through the eye piece of the microscope set at X1000.   The pollen grain is oval shaped with a smooth  surface with predominate  pores.    


        In the family Leguminosae pollen grains are generally ellipsoidal with three pores.  The pore slits can easily bee seen under 1000X magnification as shown to the left.   The grains of  Black Locust are oval in shape but if viewed from above top looking down they appear round in shape.