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Robinia pseudoacacia, a plant that we often see in the city, to embellish avenues and flower beds. Belonging to the Fabaceae family, also known as Leguminosae, it is native to North America, precisely from the Appalachian area. In those lands overseas, it is free of pure woods, all its own, in Europe not like this, we often find it in happy cohabitation.
To bring it to our continent in 1601 was Jean Robin, a pharmacist and botanist. It is to him that we owe the plant, its wonderful flowers, and also its name: Henry IV and Louis XII baptized it Robinia in honor of their gardener and herbalist Robin, pronounced in the French, of course. And on French soil there is the oldest Robinia Pseudoacacia existing in Paris, ca va sans dire.
Robinia pseudoacacia: tree
There Robinia pseudoacacia it can have an arboreal or shrub shape, to distinguish them is the height. The bark is light brown, characteristic because it is very wrinkled, the leaves are instead original in their being open during the day while at night they tend to overlap. They are up to 30-35 cm long and formed by 11-21 leaflets of oval shape, not toothed, of about 6 cm.
In Europe the Robinia pseudoacacia it is a particularly widespread plant in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Italy. It arrived in Italy in 1662 in the Botanical Garden of Padua, it has had time until today to be present practically everywhere, in particular in Lombardy, Veneto and Tuscany. And then in Piedmont where i Robinia woods, both pure and mixed, they cover an area of approximately 85,000 hectares.
Robinia pseudoacacia: flower
the Robinia pseudoacacia flowers they are white or cream and are very popular, with good reason, I would say.
They are about 2 cm long and very similar to those of peas, form rich and hanging clusters, which almost seem to weigh for their beauty, and have a extremely pleasant scent.
After the flowers come the fruits, much less characteristic and significant: they are pod-shaped, they are born green and then turn brown, they can be up to 10 cm long. In addition to flowers and fruits, the Robinia pseudoacacia it produces long and solid thorns on the branches, we can easily see them on the younger branches. According to an ancient tradition, the crown of thorns on Christ's head was precisely of Robinia pseudoacacia or acacia.
This plant, beyond the rumors, is much appreciated in the present by pragmatic souls because despite having one limited longevity (60-70 years), has a high growth rate and a extreme adaptability. In fact, it is used without too much madness, as an ornamental plant in urban centers.
Of ornamental varieties of Robinia pseudoacacia there are many and they all show off the typical abundant and fragrant spring flowering. In addition to the aesthetic side, linked to the flower, it is highly appreciated for its wood and as a nectar plant.
Robinia pseudoacacia: properties
We are not talking about wood, in this case, but about the properties of the plant towards our body. There Robinia pseudoacacia contains vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3) and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc and essential oils, it is also rich in fiber, carbohydrates, proteins and glucosides. In addition to flowers, it can be said that it is a plant that "makes us flourish", in fact it has emollient properties, protects the mucous membranes from excessive acidity such as heartburn or esophagitis.
It is easy to find in herbal medicine, the method used for its intake is above all the mother tincture, requested to treat hoarseness and pharyngitis. Then the flowers return to the scene, in herbal teas to relax, often in mixes containing other plants with similar powers. And if we find ourselves reading, in my spare time, the label of toothpastes, powders and pastes, we can also find the Robinia pseudoacacia.
Robinia pseudoacacia in homeopathy
In the past the bark of this plant was used as a laxative and tonic, the leaves instead, to stimulate vomiting and to help a correct functioning of the liver. All this despite both leaves and bark contain an alkaloid considered toxic. Another use of flowers, in addition to herbal teas for relaxation of which we have spoken, cooked and eaten they were used to alleviate eye inflammations.
Excellent as well as rich in appreciated homeopathic powers, also the honey, liquid, energizing, amber. The taste is delicate and also pleases children and also by those who do not like those kinds of honey with a very strong flavor, which I love instead: chestnut and eucalyptus, two examples for everyone.
Another winning feature of the honey of this pseudoacacia is the richness in Levulose, a substance that makes it tolerable, in small doses, even by those suffering from mild diabetes. Finally, honey may also have mildly laxative properties.
Robinia pseudoacacia in the kitchen
The flowers of Robinia pseudoacacia they are an original and tasty touch to personalize basic recipes perhaps trivial. We will amaze. For example they can become sweet pancakes, preparing a batter made from eggs, flour, sugar, milk, a pinch of salt and a drop of oil.
Frying everything and then sprinkling with powdered sugar and adding raisins, apples or other delicacies to taste. There is also a savory version of locust flowers in batter and, similar and very tasty, the omelette. Other examples of Robinia pseudoacacia to taste: in liqueurs and jams.
If not for the homeopathic properties, at least for the pancakes, or for a liqueur Robinia pseudoacacia home-made, we try to start from the seeds and grow our own plant. This is one pack of over 20 seeds, to 5 euros, from which the challenge is to give birth to a plant of at least 3 meters.
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