Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

YELLOWWOOD
Cladrastis Kentukea
Fabaceae

Leaves are pinnately compound, alternate and deciduous with usually 7 but up to 11 ovate leaflets. The terminal leaflet often ending with an abruptly acute apex. The petiole is large and completely engulfs the lateral bud. Twigs are smooth and zigzag with wooly lateral buds and leaf scars surrounding the bud. Bark is gray-brown and smooth and the heartwood is yellow. Fruit is a brown flat legume up to 4 inches long. Form is up to 15 m (50 ft) in height with low branches. Yellowwood is scattered in the eastern US on moist fertile sites. Occasionally found in Alabama. The heavy yellow wood was used in gunstocks.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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