CLADRASTIS kentukea YELLOW WOOD

FAMILY: Fabaceae

TYPE
  • Trees
  • Deciduous
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Regular Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8

Plant Details

Native to Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Slow-growing tree to 3050 feet tall, with broad, rounded head half as wide as tree is high. Leaves are 812 inches long, divided into many (usually 7 to 11) oval leaflets resembling those of English walnut (see Juglans regia). Foliage is yellowish green when new, turning bright green in summer and brilliant yellow in fall. Bark is gray in maturity; the common name yellow wood refers to the color of the freshly cut heartwood.

May not flower until 10 years old and may skip bloom some years, but the late spring display is spectacular when it comes: Clusters of fragrant, wisterialike white flowers to 14 inches long. 'Perkin's Pink' ('Rosea') is a pink-flowering form. Blooms are followed by flat, 3- to 4 inches-long seedpods. Attractive as terrace, patio, or lawn tree even if it never blooms. Deep rooted, so you can grow other plants beneath it. Tolerates alkaline soils; withstands some drought.

Prune when young to shorten side branches or correct narrow, weak branch crotches susceptible to breakage in storms. Usually low branching; you can remove lower branches entirely when tree is at desired height. Prune in summer, since cuts made in winter or spring bleed profusely.

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