Planting and Growing the Bristly Locust

Also known as standing sweet pea, the bristly locust is native to the United States. It is a member of the pea family of plants. Botanically, it is known as Robinia hispida.

Bristly Locust Description

Growing up to eight feet high, this erect shrub has many branches. Stems are stiff and hairy as are the branches. Leaves are deciduous and compound, dense with hair. Flowers are clustered, dark pink or rose or orchid in color. Blooms are two lipped. Bloom season is between April and July.

Growing Guide

This native shrub prefers to grow in full sun conditions with a thin or sandy soil that is nearly neutral in pH. Propagate by root cuttings or by seed. Seed will need acid scarification or mechanical, with a hot water soak. Cuttings should be from spring stock.


This native is found in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. It is seen in sand hills and open woods areas.


It is prone to frequent insect and disease issues. It also needs wind protection to keep it from easily breaking apart.


The functionality of the shrub is its ability to form thickets, good dense thickets, to stabilize ground and prevent erosion.

Source: NPIN

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