Cladrastis kentukea

American Yellowwood

Tips for Homeowners:

Prune in summer when sap stops running.  Early pruning on young trees will improve the structure of the tree.  Susceptible to limb breakage.

Rate this Plant:

You must login to rate plants.
This plant has not yet been rated.

The graceful, almost delicate form will be the focal point of the landscape with its fragrant flowers, rich green leaves, fall color and smooth gray bark.

  • Round form
  • Smooth gray bark
  • Fragrant, cream-colored flowers in early summer
  • Golden yellow color in fall

A tree best planted where it can be protected from strong winds or where there is limited space in the landscape.  Best in eastern or central Kansas. 

Height: 30-50 ft
Spread: 40-55 ft
Zone: 4-8

Interesting Notes about American Yellowwood:

This tree is popular for its showy and sweet-smelling flowers, but it is best to plan for a long wait since it takes several years for it to bloom.  Once it starts flowering the bees will arrive because the nectar is particularly delicious.  The leaves are a great contrast to dark green foliages of neighboring trees, but are subject to scorch if allowed to go dry for too long.

Characteristics & Attributes


  • Fragrant
  • Fall Color
  • Specimen
  • Mass Planting
  • Focal Point
  • Winter Interest
  • Great Foliage
  • Attractive fruit
  • Naturalizing

Foliage Color:

  • Green
  • Yellow


  • Full Sun
  • Partial Sun

Attracts Wildlife:

  • Attracts Pollinators


  • Upright

Season of Interest (Flowering):

  • Summer
  • Spring

Season of Interest (Foliage):

  • Fall

Soil Moisture:

  • Average Water
  • Moist, Well-Drained