Fabaceae subfamily Caesalpinioideae
Eastern and Southern USA
15m+ x 12 - 15m+, larger with great age, the species can reach 30m x 20m.
Usually a single trunked tree, with ascending vase-like main branches and spreading side and lower branches and an irregular crown (unless pruned well).
Alternate, pinnate or bipinnate, with 20 to 30 ovate / lanceolate leaflets, (25 - 30mm x 5 -8mm) reddish new growth, with dark green leaves, dull bronze in autumn.
Small greenish / white, cup-shaped flowers on short weeping stems (racemes), hidden amongst the upper twigs, not decorative, produced in mid to late spring.
A flat brown pod (legume) 150 - 300mm x 20 - 40mm, persisting on the tree well into winter.
Bark / Trunk:
Dark grey, developing an irregular texture with age.
Vigour / Longevity:
Moderate to vigorous, long lived.
Best in sunny positions with some wind protection for best autumn foliage.
Hardy to -10°C, can tolerate mild drought conditions but will defoliate, prolonged drought is fatal, can be brittle in very exposed situations.
Soil / Drainage:
Very tolerant, can grow in acidic or mildly alkaline soils, drainage must be at least moderate, with reliable summer water or the plant will be stunted. Avoid digging around this tree, the damages roots will produce suckers armed with the sharp three poin
Train to a single leader, in winter. Remove any crossing branches that form. This species and its cultivars are renowned for their ability to produce crossing branches and competing leaders. Good early training is essential. A shapelier crown can be forme
Not tolerant of prolonged drought, water in dry summers.
Fertilise with a complete fertiliser in late winter for vigorous spring growth, till established.
Pests / Diseases:
Shade tree, street tree, autumn foliage contrast tree
© Text reproduced here with the kind permission of Tony Wilson and Barck Books.