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Cladrastis kentukea
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Clade: Cladrastis clade
Genus: Cladrastis
Raf. (1825)

See text

Cladrastis (yellowwood) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Fabaceae. It includes four species, three native to eastern Asia and one to southeastern North America.[1]

Species of Cladrastis are small to medium-sized deciduous trees typically growing 10–20 m tall, exceptionally to 27 m tall. The leaves are compound pinnate, with 5–17 alternately arranged leaflets. The flowers are fragrant, white or pink, produced in racemes or panicles 15–40 cm long. The fruit is a pod 3–8 cm long, containing one to six seeds.

Cladrastis is related to the genus Maackia, from which it differs in having the buds concealed in the leaf base, and in the leaflets being arranged alternately on the leaf rachis, not in opposite pairs. The genus name derives from the Greek klados, branch, and thraustos, fragile, referring to the brittle nature of the twigs. The combination of Cladrastis, Pickeringia and Styphnolobium form a monophyletic clade known as the Cladrastis clade; as the other two originated from within Cladrastis, Cladrastis is paraphyletic.[2][3][4]


Four species are currently accepted:[1]


  1. ^ a b Cladrastis Raf. Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 1 August 2023.
  2. ^ Cardoso D, Pennington RT, de Queiroz LP, Boatwright JS, Van Wyk BE, Wojciechowski MF, Lavin M (2013). "Reconstructing the deep-branching relationships of the papilionoid legumes". S Afr J Bot. 89: 58–75. doi:10.1016/j.sajb.2013.05.001. hdl:10566/3193.
  3. ^ Cardoso D, de Queiroz LP, Pennington RT, de Lima HC, Fonty É, Wojciechowski MF, Lavin M (2012). "Revisiting the phylogeny of papilionoid legumes: new insights from comprehensively sampled early-branching lineages". Am J Bot. 99 (12): 1991–2013. doi:10.3732/ajb.1200380. PMID 23221500.
  4. ^ Wojciechowski MF (2013). "The origin and phylogenetic relationships of the Californian chaparral 'paleoendemic' Pickeringia (Leguminosae)". Syst Bot. 38 (1): 132–142. doi:10.1600/036364413X662024.
  5. ^ Some sources treat Cladrastis delavayi as a synonym of Cladrastis sinensis.

Further reading[edit]

  • Andrews S (1997). "Trees of the Year: Cladrastis and Maakia". Int. Dendrol. Soc. Year Book. 1996: 12–26.
  • Spongberg SA, Ma JS (1997). "Cladrastis (Leguminosae subfamily Faboideae tribe Sophoreae): a historic and taxonomic overview". Int. Dendrol. Soc. Year Book. 1996: 27–35.