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Yellowwood Cladrastis kentukea

Previously known as:

  • Cladrastis lutea
Phonetic Spelling
klah-DRAS-tis ken-TUK-ee-ah
Description

Yellowwood is a native tree with an open graceful spreading crown with three seasons of interest. The hanging panicles of flowers in the spring become hanging yellow-brown fruits and leaf color becomes yellow-orange in the fall. The smooth gray bark adds winter interest. The root system is deep which makes transplanting difficult but allows shade-loving plants to grow underneath it. Yellowwood makes a great shade tree.

Plant in average moist garden soil and protect from winter winds as branch damage may occur. Once established it is drought tolerant. Corrective pruning is often necessary to eliminate weak branch forks. Prune only in summer to prevent bleeding.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Rosea'
'Rosea'
Tags:
#bees#fragrant#sun#deciduous#fall color#yellow#shade tree#full sun#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#orange#interesting bark#wildlife plant#native tree#low maintenance#winter interest#fall interest#playground#smooth bark#children's garden#native garden#seed pods#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#food source summer#food source nectar#food source pollen#urban conditions tolerant#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Rosea'
'Rosea'
Tags:
#bees#fragrant#sun#deciduous#fall color#yellow#shade tree#full sun#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#orange#interesting bark#wildlife plant#native tree#low maintenance#winter interest#fall interest#playground#smooth bark#children's garden#native garden#seed pods#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#food source summer#food source nectar#food source pollen#urban conditions tolerant#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cladrastis
    Species:
    kentukea
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    This wood was used by the Cherokee for carving as well as building structures.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America
    Distribution:
    AL , AR , CT , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , ME , MO , MS , NC , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts birds.
    Play Value:
    Fragrance
    Shade
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Tolerates high pH and dry soil; No significant insect or disease problems.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 45 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 40 ft. 0 in. - 45 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Broad
    Erect
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Vase
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Legume
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    2.5-4 inch long flat yellow-brown seed pods. Displays from July to August.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Up to 12 inch long panicles of white, fragrant, pendulous, blooms in late spring or early summer and often blooms only every 2-3 years. Individual flowers are about 1 inch and pea-like in shape. Blooms from April to May.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    This tree has 8-12 inches long pinnately compound leaves. Each branch has 7-9 leaflets. The leaves have a yellow/ orange fall color.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    On old trees, trunk bark is light gray and pebbly, while on young trees it is light gray and smooth. The bark adds winter interest.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Twigs are light gray or brown and covered with scattered white lenticels.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Diseases
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Insect Pests
    Urban Conditions