Audubon® Yellowwood Tree
Audubon® Yellowwood Additional Product Shot 2737
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Audubon® Yellowwood Tree
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Audubon® Yellowwood Additional Product Shot 2737

Growth Facts

Audubon® Yellowwood

Cladrastis lutea
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How large is this tree? View the Size Guide.

The All-American Yellowwood is an underused medium to large shade tree that will bring an easy elegance to your landscape whether your garden style is grand and formal or more intimate and naturalistic. Its arching canopy and bright green leaves will create a shady spot below for playing, dining, or just unwinding in summer, and in fall, its foliage will light up your yard with a golden glow. In spring, you may be treated to a show of long chains of fragrant white flowers adorning this stellar specimen tree’s branches. Yellowwood doesn’t bloom every year, but when it does, it’s spectacular. Some think the blossoms smell like Pez candy!

Take Birds Under Your Wing

New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees

  • Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
  • Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)

Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.

  • The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
  • This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
  • Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
  • Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
  • Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch

Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.

  • Size AA (2-3' tall) container grown 
  • Size A (6-7' tall) container grown
  • Size C (10-12' tall) grown balled & burlapped

Growth Facts

Recommended by Our Growers

The Story

Yellowwood’s botanical name, Cladrastis, means “fragile branch,” indicating that this is perhaps not the best tree for the kids’ tire swing. Its wood is hard, though, and was probably used for gun stock in more than a few Civil War rifles. Its species name, kentukea, is a nod to one of the states to which it is native. In all of those states, however, yellowwood is listed as threatened, endangered, or in some degree of scarcity in the wild. Planting one in your own yard will help ensure that this beautiful species lives on.

The Details

Good ol' American Yellowwood. Why's it called Yellowwood you ask? Because the wood of the tree contains yellow dye which colors the heartwood of the tree. All the crazy stuff we learn just by reading a tag! Anyway, this is one cool tree. The leaves when they first appear are yellowish-green but later turn to bright green in summer and then turn to yellow during fall. And the blooms on this tree are awesome (although Yellowwood only tends to bloom every few years)! Intensely fragrant, white flower clusters covers mature trees in late spring. The flower clusters will remind you of Wisteria blooms. After flowers fade, flat brown seed pods appear and mature in fall. American Yellowwood is one excellent, low maintenance tree that is well suited as a shade tree in your garden!

How to Grow

Although native to hot and humid Southeastern and Lower Midwestern states, Yellowwood is surprisingly cold-hardy, and can be grown as far north as Maine. It prefers to have sun for most of the day, but is quite accepting of light shade as well. It is not fussy about soil pH either, so whether you have an acid or an alkaline soil—or even if you don’t know which you have—it really doesn’t matter! Its smooth, slate-gray bark is thin, and should be shielded from string trimmers and overzealous kitties.

Size Guide

Size Guide Scale


Size: A

Size A

This graphic shows the approximate size and form of the Tree you are viewing.

Size A Trees:

6-7' tall, grown and delivered in a container. Although this size tree can be handled by one person, its large container, stem and branching do not allow it to fit into a box. A van or truck will be needed to haul this tree home.

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Audubon® Yellowwood Tree
Audubon® Yellowwood Additional Product Shot 2737