American Yellowwood*

American yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea)

Planting Site:

American yellowwood is a nice medium-sized landscape tree with bright green foliage and smooth gray bark. A low-branching species, yellowwood has a rounded crown and grows 30 to 50 feet tall with a spread equal to its height. Use it as a shade tree or specimen plant. The pealike flowers, which are more abundant in alternate years, hang in strings 8 to 14 inches long. Lovely chartreuse leaves distinguish this tree in the spring, when it is also noted for its flowers, and in summer, when they contrast with darker greens in the garden. Yellowwood also has a handsome, silvery, sinuous bark that becomes prominent in the winter and as it matures. The long, drooping clusters of white flowers that hang on this tree are among the most beautiful to be found. It has outstanding fragrant white flowers. Yellowwood is slow-growing but adaptable and tolerant of poor soils.

Illinois native species.

Cladrastis kentukeaCladrastis kentukea


Street: Appropriate for restricted size planting sites; recommended by the City of Chicago Urban Tree Planting List
Park/Residential: Appropriate for landscaped planting sites including public parks, residential property, golf courses, cemeteries, etc.
Legacy: For plantings with an expected life span of more than 60 years; retained 50 percent or more climate suitability in models for the decade 2080
N/R +35 yrs: Not recommended for plantings with an expected life span of more than 35 years