Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Yellowwood
Give a thumbs up Kentucky Yellowwood
Give a thumbs up Gopherwood

Botanical names:
Cladrastis kentukea Accepted
Cladrastis lutea Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 5a -28.9 °C (-20 °F) to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 20 - 60 feet
Plant Spread: 20 - 40 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Unusual foliage color
Deciduous
Fruit: Showy
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: White
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Spring
Underground structures: Taproot
Suitable Locations: Street Tree
Uses: Provides winter interest
Shade Tree
Edible Parts: Fruit
Dynamic Accumulator: Nitrogen fixer
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Birds
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds: 3 months at 40 degrees
Scarify seeds
Suitable for wintersowing
Can handle transplanting
Pollinators: Various insects

Steven J. Baskauf http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/

Photo gallery:
Location: Neighbor's gardenDate: 2015-06-08
By pirl
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Location: West Chester, PennsylvaniaDate: 2010-10-28autumn leaves
By ILPARW
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Location: West Chester, PennsylvaniaDate: 2011-11-07full-grown tree in autumn
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2019-03-09old trunk of old tree at former nursery location
By ILPARW
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Location: Belmont garden extension, full sun.Date: 2014-0527
By pirl
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Location: Neighbor's gardenDate: 2015-06-08
By pirl
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Location: Neighbor's gardenDate: 2015-06-07
By pirl
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Location: Tyler Arboretum in southeast PA near MediaDate: 2011-11-02mature tree among other trees
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2019-03-09older tree from former nursery location there
By ILPARW
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Location: Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, ON, CanadaDate: 2014-06-05
By Anne
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Location: Belmont garden extension, full sun.Date: 2014-0527
By pirl
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Location: Belmont garden extension, full sun.Date: 2014-0527
By pirl
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Location: Belmont garden extension, full sun.Date: 2012-0807Not even 3' tall by 2012, years after it was planted.
By pirl
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Location: Belmont garden extension, full sun.Date: 2012-0807Leaves burned in the sun.
By pirl
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Location: Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, ON, CanadaDate: 2014-06-05
By Anne
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Location: Neighbor's gardenDate: 2015-0607
By pirl
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Location: Neighbor's gardenDate: 2015-06-07
By pirl
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Location: West Chester, PennsylvaniaDate: 2015-05-22crown in bloom
By ILPARW
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Location: West Chester, PennsylvaniaDate: 2015-05-22tree in bloom
By ILPARW
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Location: Newtown Square, PennsylvaniaDate: 2010-07-27maturing tree in summer
By ILPARW
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Location: West Chester, PennsylvaniaDate: 2010-05-10full-grown trunk
By ILPARW
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Location: West Chester, PennsylvaniaDate: 2010-05-10full-grown tree in bloom
By ILPARW
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Location: West Chester, PennsylvaniaDate: 2010-05-10white flowers in hanging clusters
By ILPARW
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Comments:
Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Jan 17, 2012 2:14 PM

Yellowwood is a very attractive medium to large tree for a prime spot in the landscape. It gets 30-45 feet tall and wide, has smooth gray bark, and has beautiful fragrant clusters of creamy white, wisteria-like flowers in the spring. Flowering can be so abundant that the fallen flowers look like snow on the ground. Yellowwood likes alkaline soil that is well drained and of average fertility. It wants full sun. This tree in flower is absolutely breathtaking.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Nov 27, 2017 7:49 PM

A most lovely small to medium size tree in landscapes, but can get large in nature. Its native range is in northern Arkansas & southern Missouri to spots in Kentucky and Tennessee and just over the NC & VA borders. with or near forest in coves, ravines, river valleys, slopes, and ridges over streams. It grows about 1 to 2 feet/year and lives about 100 to 160 years. Its compound leaves have 7 to 11 rounded leaflets that turn yellow or golden in the fall. The slightly fragrant, white, pea-like flowers are borne in hanging spikes in late May to early June. It has smooth gray bark similar to beech. Its root system has deep, coarse lateral roots, but it transplants easily when small and young in spring to B&B. One reliable source lists this species as hardy to USDA Zone 3b. This wonderful tree is sold by some large diverse nurseries, native plant and specialty nurseries. It is not well known and is mostly planted by landscape designers and architects, so it is infrequently found.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
What kind of tree? by Hardaygator Oct 16, 2017 5:24 PM 2

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