Virginia Tech Dendrology

yellowwood Fabaceae Cladrastis kentukea (Dum. Cours.) Rudd Listen to the Latin symbol: CLKE
Leaf: Alternate, pinnately compound, but individual leaflets sub-opposite, 5 to 9 leaflets (usually 7), entire margins, 8 to 12" long, each leaflet obovate to oblong-obovate, green upper surface, paler below. Petiole swollen at base and enclosing the bud.
Flower: Perfect, pea-like, creamy to white, somewhat fragrant, borne in 8 to 14" long hanging cluster, appearing in late spring to early summer.
Fruit: Flat brown pod, 2 to 4 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, containing small, brown, hard-coated seeds, ripening in early fall, persistent.
Twig: Moderately stout, smooth, shiny, red-brown with numerous lighter lenticels, zig-zag, leaf scar nearly encircling the bud; bud is a broad cone, with fuzzy brown hairs.
Bark: Very smooth, often wrinkled, thin, gray.
Form: Medium sized tree, reaching 50 feet in height, wide spreading crown, typically low branching.
Looks like: Amur corktree - Japanese pagoda tree
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Cladrastis kentukea is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting yellowwood.
More Information: Fall Color
External Links: USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson