Cladrastis kentukea (Dum.-Coours) Rudd [C. lutea (Michx.,f) K. Koch] - Yellowwood
Cladrastis kentukea Yellowwood or American Yellowwood is a medium-sized
flowering tree. The fragrant 1-1.5 inch white flowers found on 8-14
inch pendulous panicles are a delight in May. The leaves are alternate, odd-pinnately
compound. The late Buddy Hubbuch, Director of Horticulture at Bernheim, loved
this tree and planted several in the shade sun garden.
He liked the yellow fall color that comes at a time when many other trees are
already defoliated for winter. The bright yellow beacon of the yellowwood in
the gray fall-winter scene found in most woodlands and gardens is a wonderful
sight, especially when back- or side-lighted.The infrequently found Kentucky
native woody tree is tolerant of a wide variety of Kentucky environs. More common
to the acid soils of eastern Kentucky it can also be found on the alkaline soils
of southernedge of the coalfield area.
To propagate by seed the seed coats are scarified (removed or thinned) with
a sulfuric acid treatment and stored or directly sown. Perkin's Pink',
the pink flowering yellowwood cultivar from the Arnold Arboretum originally
distributed as Rosea' is propagated by budding to a seedling rootstock.