Wednesday, 10 April 2013 14:52

Purple Robe & Frisia Gold Locusts

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Purple Robe Locust - Robinia pseudoacacia 'Purple Robe'

Purple Robe Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia 'Purple Robe')

Saturday evening as I was taking my beautiful Bride to dinner, we drove by this stunning tree just a block away from our home.  Now I've photographed this tree in prior years - actually several times as it keeps growing up.  What was special about Saturday was the spectacular lighting (remember I am a photographer and lighting is king!).  The early evening sun was spotlighting it perfectly and it was stunning against a prefectly blue sky!  Now I usually have my camera with me as I go to work or travel around on sales trips and vacations but I normally don't drag it with me as I treat my hard working wife to dinner.  So I commented to Barbara that I need to come back tomorrow to capture that shot.

Well I forgot on Sunday as I had a major project I was working on for church.  Shame too since I could have timed the afternoon light perfectly.  Monday morning as I drove by the tree (lit from the wrong side by the morning sun), I reminded myself to get off early from work and take the shot. Well Monday turned cloudy, rainy (well "spit" at us is more accurate) and very windy.  So the shot you see above was the best I could accomplish in between wind gusts before retreating inside to protect the camera from water.

Robinia pseudoacacia 'Pruple Robe'

Purple Robe Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia 'Purple Robe')

Yesterday (Tuesday) I tried again but couldn't get away early enough before lengthening shadows from neighboring trees covered the bottom part of the Purple Robe Locust.  Between heavy winds, rain and progress of time, the blooms are no longer as stunning as last Saturday.  So guess I wait again for next year to nab that stunning shot I saw Saturday (and start carrying my camera to dinners?).


Purple Robe Locust is the most popular of the Robinia that we sell - simply because of this delightful spring showcase of blooms.  In the right places, with room to grow, it can be a desireable tree.  You can see more photos here: Purple Robe Locust


Next most popular in terms of our sales volume is the Frisia Gold Locust noted primarily for its yellow leaves (new growth nearly orange).  It has white flowers in the spring/early summer but not to the abundance like you see on the Purple Robe.  The flowers are nice but not its key selling feature. Since they were blooming too, I went out to the orchard to capture a few images.  These photos are from the heavily pruned (butchered) budwood orchard trees so all you get are closeups of foliage and blooms (and limb stubs):

Frisia Gold Locust Bloom

Frisia Gold Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia') blooms

I do not have any local landscape shots of this tree since most yellow foliage trees in Central California are not popular (they don't stand out from the golden/brown environment of our "Golden State's" dry summers). They shine in the greener parts of the country where the yellow foliage contrasts so nicely.  So I took some photos (with permission) at the wonderful J.F. Schmidt Arboretum next to their nursery in Oregon.

Frisia Gold Locust in the landscape

Frisia Gold Locust in the landscape

You can see more Frisia Gold Locust photos here: Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia'

We also carry the Idaho Locust (Robinia x ambigua 'Idahoensis') which sells mostly into Idaho and Utah (I think I need to call one "California Locust" to see if the name helps it sell in a more populus state but that name sounds like a new invasive pestSmile).

Lastly we sell some Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) which is the rootstock for our other trees.  It is a "trash tree" in my opinion and its detractions prevent me from ever recommending it for a yard or landscape.  But there seems to be some call for this seedling for environmental remediation work in tough climate areas.

Weather warmed up quicly this year so spring is rapidly advancing.  Hope you are enjoying your spring as much as we are.

Ron Ludekens 4-10-2013