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common name for any species of the genus Cladrastis, leguminous trees of the family Leguminosae (pulsepulse,
in botany, common name for members of the Fabaceae (Leguminosae), a large plant family, called also the pea, or legume, family. Numbering about 650 genera and 17,000 species, the family is third largest, after the asters and the orchids.
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 family). Three of the four species are native to China and Japan. The other, C. lutea, is native to the SE United States and is cultivated as far north as Massachusetts, chiefly as an ornamental for the bright green leaves and the fragrant white blossoms. A dye has been obtained from the yellow heartwood. The name yellowwood is used also for several unrelated trees yielding yellow lumber, e.g., Podocarpus thunbergii and P. elongata, conifers of S Africa used in construction; Schaefferia frutescens of S Florida and the West Indies, sometimes also called boxwood and used in engraving as a substitute for true boxwood; and West Indian satinwood. Cladrastis is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Leguminosae.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the yellowish wood of more than 30 species of tropical and subtropical trees and bushes. Some-times the wood turns yellow only after exposure to air or light. The most important species yielding yellowwood are the China tree, used in making furniture; teak, used in building ships and railway cars; and those of the genera Torreya and Thujopsis, used in shipbuilding and carpentry. Some species of podocarpus, yellow pine, and yellow birch are used in carpentry, and chamaecyparis is used for marine structures. Yellow dyes for hides and cloth are obtained from the so-called Brazilian yellowwood, the osage orange, and the roots of some species of the genus Morinda. Of the native trees and shrubs of the USSR, the barberry and smoke tree have yellowwood.


Vanin, S. I. Drevesinovedenie, 3rd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
Scheiber, C. Tropenhölzer. Leipzig, 1965.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.