pea tree Fabaceae Caragana
arborescens Lam. symbol: CAAR18
Leaf: Alternate, deciduous, pinnately compound with 8 to 12 oval, entire, 1/2 to 1 inch long, mucronate-tipped leaflets, overall 3-4 inches, lacking a terminal leaflet, may be slightly pubescent when young, otherwise bright to dark green above and paler below.
Flower: Bright yellow, single or in clusters, pea-like, about 1/2 to 1 inch long, appearing in late spring to early summer.
Fruit: Very much peapod-like, to 2 inches long, maturing from green to brown in late summer and curling after it splits to release the 3-5 seeds. Split pods persist on the stem for some time.
Twig: Green to gray-brown, frequently with weak paired spines at each node, angled to grooved, buds 1/4 inch and gray-brown, older twigs developing spur shoots.
Bark: Smooth with prominent lenticels, green to gray-brown, may be somewhat shiny.
Form: A large shrub to small tree with an oval crown, to 20 feet but more commonly under 10 feet.
Looks like: desert false indigo - black locust
Additional Range Information: Caragana arborescens is planted in the USDA hardiness zones shown above and may seed into the landscape. See states reporting pea tree.
External Links: USDA Plants Database
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