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Cladrastis kentukea (Kentucky yellowwood) | NPIN
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Cladrastis kentukea (Kentucky yellowwood)
Bloodworth, Stefan

Cladrastis kentukea

Cladrastis kentukea (Dum. Cours.) Rudd

Kentucky yellowwood, Yellowwood, Gopherwood, Virgilia

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s): Cladrastis lutea, Sophora kentukea

USDA Symbol: CLKE

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (I)

Kentucky yellow-wood is a small, deciduous tree that rarely reaches 50 ft. in height. It is as wide as tall, with graceful, pendulous branches and bright-green, pinnately-compound leaves. Showy, pendent, foot-long spikes of cream-colored flowers appear in quantity only two or three times a decade. Fall color is a delicate orange or yellow. Bark is smooth and beech-like.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf: Green
Fruit:
Size Class: 36-72 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , CT , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , ME , MO , MS , NC , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN
Native Distribution: S. IN & s. MO, s. to NC & e. OK
Native Habitat: Mesic woods; ravines; river valleys; limestone slopes

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Rich, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Yellowwood is rare throughout its range. It provides excellent shade but has such deep roots that grasses and shrubs grow easily beneath it. The deep roots, however, make transplanting difficult. The tree is slow-growing in its early years. Once established, this tree is drought-tolerant and nearly pest-free. Corrective pruning is often necessary to eliminate weak branch forks. Do not prune in the spring or immediately after transplanting. Very few disease and insect problems. Open-grown specimens are more vase-like in outline than the taller, narrower woodland specimens.

Benefit

Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Propagation

Description: Propagate by seed or root cuttings. Take cuttings in December and hold in nearly dry sand until transplanting to well-drained, fertile soil in mid-spring.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Like all legume seeds, these need scarification. After scarification, stratification may or may not be necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Georgia Native Plant Society - Atlanta, GA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Bibliography

Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

USDA: Find Cladrastis kentukea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cladrastis kentukea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cladrastis kentukea

Metadata

Record Modified: 2013-09-07
Research By: TWC Staff

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