Zones 4-8, Sun to Light Shade, Moist soil
30′-50′ high, 40′-50′ wide at maturity
Blooms late spring, white to pale pink
General Information About Yellowwood
This is one of the rarest of our native trees. They tend to be wide-crowned and their bark is gray and smooth. The leaves are a beautiful golden tone in fall. The name ‘yellowwood’ refers to the color of the heartwood of this tree. At one time, freshly cut heartwood was used as a dye for clothing.
The delicate flowers catch your interest and dangle in the spring breeze. Their fragrance is most noticeable after dark. They are slow growing and slow to flower. Some trees bloom only every 2 to 3 years. But the delicate treasures are worth the wait!
They transplant easily. Pruning when young to eliminate awkward forks in the branches will help prevent breakage as the limbs gain girth. Prune in summer because cuts made in late winter or spring tend to bleed. They are adaptable to pH and grow on limestone soils and slightly acidic soil. At least 3 to 4 hours of sunlight a day will help them bloom. Once established, it is drought tolerant.
Ecosystem Value of Yellowwood
Since this tree is so rare, there are few studies on what insects pollinate it or depend on it. It provides nesting sites for songbirds. It is thought since the fragrance is stronger at night, that it is an important plant for moths. Its pollen and high quality and attracts bees and other pollinators. Deer feed on it, and there is a theory that over-grazing by deer led to the declining population of this delicate tree.