A tree occasionally 50 to 60 ft high, when drawn up by other trees, but usually 40 ft or less in the open, with a wide-spreading, rounded head of branches; trunk and limbs pale grey and glabrous; branchlets not downy. Leaves 8 to 12 in. long, pinnate, composed of usually seven or nine (sometimes five or eleven) leaflets, the base of their common stalk swollen and enclosing the bud; leaflets alternate, nearly or quite glabrous when mature, broadly oval, ovate or obovate, the terminal one the largest, and up to 41⁄2 in. long and 23⁄4 in. wide; basal pair of leaflets down to 11⁄2 in. long. Panicles terminal, 8 to 14 in. long, 4 to 6 in. wide at the base, pendulous. Flowers white, 1 to 11⁄4 in. long, produced on stalks scarcely half as long, slightly fragrant; standard petal 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. across, reflexed, with a pale yellow blotch at the base. Calyx bell-shaped, 5⁄8 in. long, with five blunt teeth, and covered (like the flower-stalk) with minute down. Pod 3 to 4 in. long, 1⁄2 in. wide, flat, with four to six seeds. Bot. Mag., t. 7767.
Native of the south-east United States, most plentiful in Tennessee, although nowhere very common; introduced in 1812. This interesting tree does not flower regularly in this country, but is very distinct and handsome in its foliage, which turns bright yellow before falling, and in summer is of a beautifully vivid green and luxuriant aspect. The timber is hard, heavy, and close-grained, and when freshly cut is yellow. There is a good tree at Kew 35 ft high, with a head of branches 45 ft across, but the others mentioned in previous editions no longer exist. These were in the Knap Hill Nursery (45 ft) and at Syon House (60 ft). The best recorded recently are: Linton Park, Kent, 58 ft high (1956); Trent College, Notts., 30 × 3 ft at 21⁄2 ft (1962); Bath Botanic Garden, 30 × 21⁄4 ft. Propagated best by imported seeds. Blossoms in June.