Cladrastis wilsonii

Common Name: yellowwood 
Type: Tree
Family: Fabaceae
Native Range: China
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 13.00 to 52.00 feet
Spread: 13.00 to 52.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Good Fall


Best grown in evenly moist, well-draining soils in full sun. This species is not common in cultivation, and so its exact hardiness range is not known. Seems to perform best in areas with hot summers, and may be cold hardy in Zones 6-9.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cladrastis wilsonii is a small to medium sized deciduous tree native to moist, forested hillsides of central and southern China. Mature specimens will reach between 13-52' tall with a similarly wide, spreading canopy. The compound foliage is made up of 8-11, ovate to oblong-ovate leaflets that will reach 1.5-5.5" long and 0.75-2.5" wide. The leaves turn bright yellow in the fall. The terminal leaflets is usually larger than the others. Drooping, 4-11" long panicles of fragrant, white flowers bloom from late spring into summer. The individual flowers will reach around 0.75" wide. Flattened pods reaching 1.75-3" long hold 1-5, grey-brown, reniform (kidney-shaped) seeds that ripen from late summer into early fall.

Genus name comes from the Greek klados meaning branch and thraustos meaning fragile for the brittle twigs.

The specific epithet wilsonii honors Ernest Henry Wilson (1876-1930), English plant collector and botanist.


This plant is not common in cultivation, but may be susceptible to the same problems as the related and more commonly grown Cladrastis kentukea, which include sun scald and verticillium wilt.


Accent specimen for lawn or border. Shade tree.