Alphabetical Plant Listing

Cladrastis kentukea (Yellowwood)

Kentucky Yellowwood, Yellowwood, Gopherwood, Virgilia, Yellow Ash, Cladrastis lutea, Cladrastis tinctoria


A fine tree for the landscape, Cladrastis kentukea (Yellowwood) is a medium-sized, deciduous tree with a broad-rounded crown of graceful, upward-spreading branches clothed with pinnately-compound leaves. Emerging yellow-green, the leaves mature to bright green as the season progresses and turn yellow to golden brown in the fall. In spring, a profusion of large, pendant panicles, 8-14 in. long (20-35 cm), of intensely fragrant white flowers cascade from the canopy. Resembling wisteria, they create a most spectacular floral show. However, Yellowwood may bloom only once every 2 or 3 years and young trees may not bloom for the first 8-10 years. The flowers are followed by hanging clusters of small dry bean-pods, maturing in the fall and persisting into winter. The older branches and trunk are smooth, gray and beech-like. The heavy crop of fragrant flowers, handsome foliage, attractive fall color, appealing smooth bark, and good resistance to disease and insect problems make it a desirable tree for landscaping. An excellent specimen tree or shade tree, it deserves a prominent position in the landscape.

  • Grows up to 30-50 ft. tall (9-15 m) and 40-50 ft. wide (12-15 m).
  • A full sun lover, this plant is easily grown in average, medium moisture, fertile, well-drained soils.
  • Low maintenance, this plant has no serious insect or disease issues.
  • No routine pruning necessary. Remove diseased, damaged, congested or crossing shoots. Prune after flowering or in late autumn.
  • Sow seeds as soon as ripe in the autumn and keep in cold frame - propagation trees from sed. Take root cuttings in winter.
  • Native to the southeastern United States.

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Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 9
Heat Zones 1 – 9
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16
Plant Type Trees
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 30' – 50' (9m – 15m)
Spread 40' – 50' (12m – 15m)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Northeast, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Southwest, Oklahoma
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Traditional Garden

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Plant Image Library (Flickr), Peter Turner Photography (shutterstock)

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 9
Heat Zones 1 – 9
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16
Plant Type Trees
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 30' – 50' (9m – 15m)
Spread 40' – 50' (12m – 15m)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Northeast, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Southwest, Oklahoma
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Traditional Garden

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