Cladrastis kentukea

Cladrastis kentukea (lutea)

  • BOTANICAL NAME: Cladrastis kentukea (lutea)
  • PRONUNCIATION: kla-DRAS-tis ken-TUK-e-a
  • COMMON NAME: Yellowwood
  • FAMILY: Leguminosae
  • NATIVITY: Mid-Atlantic to midwestern U.S.,; not abundant.
  • GROWTH HABIT: Rounded crown; 30'-50' (75') tall. slow to moderate growth rate. Notorious for poor branching architecture.
  • HARDINESS: Zone 3-8
  • CULTURE: Well-drained soils in full sun; pH tolerant; requires adequate moisture.
  • FACULTATIVE STATUS: ¬†None defined
  • LANDSCAPE USE: Develops weak crotches and therefore requires corrective pruning in summer when young; an excellent, though underused, medium-sized tree.
  • FOLIAGE: Alternate, 8"-12" long, odd-pinnately compound with 7-11 elliptic to ovate leaflets. Leaflets alternate. Yellow fall color. White flowers in pendulous racemes in late May, June. Very attractive and fragrant. Flowering is usually cyclic, 2-5 years.
  • BUDS: Hidden by leaf petiole, brownish black, covered with dense hairs.
  • BARK: Smooth, gray, beechlike. Freshly cut heartwood is yellow. Crushed twig smells like dried beans.
  • FRUIT: Panicles of 1" - 1 1/2" long, whitish gray pods.
  • PROPAGATION: Seed, cuttings.
  • PESTS: None serious.


University of Delaware

University of Delaware Botanic GardensNewark, DE 19716Phone: 302 831-0153