The yellowwood is recognized as having one of the best flowering displays of flowering trees with its white and pink drooping flowers. Although rare in the wild, the yellowwood is hardy and can easily be an urban ornamental tree as it tolerates a wide range of acidic and slightly alkaline soils.
More detail: American Yellowwood’s Tree of the Month.
Alternate, pinnately compound, 5 to 9 leaflets (usually 7), each leaflet obovate to oblong-obovate, green upper surface, paler below
Pea-like, perfect, creamy to white, somewhat fragrant, borne in long hanging clusters
Flat brown pod, 2 to 4 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, containing small, brown, hard-coated seeds, ripening in early fall
Moderately stout, smooth, shiny, red-brown, zig-zag, leaf scar nearly encircling the bud; bud is a broad cone, with fuzzy brown hairs
Very smooth, often wrinkled, thin, gray
Wide spreading crown, typically low branching
Commonly reaches 50 feet in height
Native to the southeastern United States, with a restricted range from western North Carolina west to eastern Oklahoma, and from southern Missouri and Indiana south to central Alabama
Medium-sized deciduous tree
Leaves turn a unique soft yellow-green color in fall
Does best in moist neutral soils with good drainage, but adapts to varying levels of acidity
Tolerates partial shade but grows the best in sun
Amur corktree, Japanese pagoda tree
Pests and Diseases
There are no major pests or diseases for the yellowwood except for the occasional verticillium wilt.
The name yellowwood derives from its yellow heartwood, used in small amounts for specialist furniture, gunstocks and decorative woodturning.
Kentucky yellowwood is recommended as one of the best medium-sized trees for cultivation as an ornamental plant in gardens.