Hardy, deciduous, Eastern North American tree
Description: Pendulous clusters of fragrant, white flowers appear in late spring; resembling Wisteria; bright green foliage and smooth gray bark; foliage turns a mix of soft yellow, gold, and orange
Habit: Medium-sized tree to 50 ft high and wide
Culture: Prefers full sun and moist, but well-drained soil
Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 through 8
Origin: Southeastern United States
Attributes: Fragrant flowers; Fall color
Cladrastis kentukea is native to the southeastern United States, but is not widespread. Its common name, Yellow-wood, describes the color of the wood when the tree is freshly cut. In his book A Natural History of Trees, Donald Peattie describes the first encounter with Yellow-wood by naturalist André Michaux: "An icy rain was falling—a rain that presently turned to a blinding snow—and the roaring creeks of Tennessee were rising fast, on the last day of February, 1796, when André Michaux stopped his horse, somewhere in the lonely woods twelve miles from Fort Blount, to examine a curious tree." Cladrastis kentukea was introduced into gardens in 1812.