Yellowwod Cladrastis luteaA rarely seen native of Southeastern United States, yellowwood is a medium-sized deciduous tree grown as an ornamental in diverse areas of the country for its fragrant flowers. In late spring to early summer white pea-like flowers are borne on long panicles ten to sixteen inches long resembling wisteria. Every two to three years the tree blooms heavily and is especially beautiful. The flowers are followed by 2½ to 4” long pods that turn brown in the fall. The bright green oval leaves are eight to ten inches long and pinnately compound with each leaflet two to three inches long. In fall the leaves are showy as they turn yellow, gold, and orange. In winter the branching pattern and attractive bark provide interest. Yellowwood makes an excellent specimen, lawn or patio tree and can be under-planted with other plants because of its deep root system. Once established it is tolerant of drought, city conditions, heat, cold, and wet soils. Unfortunately, it may take ten years to blooms and the small angles of branches make the tree susceptible to splitting.

Type: Flowering deciduous tree

Outstanding Feature: Fragrant flowers

Form: Upright, spreading, vase-shaped, rounded crown

Growth Rate: Medium to slow

Yellowwood Cladrastis lutea fl 2Bloom: White pea-like, very fragrant flowers borne on panicles 10-16” long in late spring or early summer

Size: 30-45’ x 40-45’ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Average, moist, well-drained; tolerates wet soils and alkalinity

Hardiness: Zones 4-9

Care: Prune in summer to avoid “bleeding”; protect from wind and winter sun.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed; root cuttings in winter

Outstanding Selection: ‘Rosea’ (pink flowers).

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By Karen