2013

 
 

The Yellowhorn, or Xanthoceras sorbifolium, is the sole species in the genus Xanthoceras, and is native to northern China. This small tree’s great asset is the spring display when huge quantities of tubular white flowers smother the branches. These blossoms are only 1 inch in diameter, but occur in racemes 6 to 10 inches long. They open with yellow-green throats, which change to pink and then to deep rosy red. When a Yellowhorn reaches its mature height of 20 to 25 feet, and is literally sagging with bloom, it will stop traffic. And it is in flower from late spring to early summer and will be your garden show-piece. Its foliage is a beautiful lustrous green with lacy pinnate leaves, not unlike certain Rowans (Sorbus) which makes for a fine textured subject. The form is graceful and upright. Yellowhorn is also known as Chinese flowering chestnut because the fruits are three-valved and similar to buckeyes, and, when roasted are reputed to taste like macadamia nuts.

It is easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun though it prefers loamy soil. It is very adaptable with tolerance for a wide range of growing conditions, including partial shade and damp soils. Best of all, it can tolerate the dry and cold of high plateau country and can grow in alkaline soils. It is hard to find and quite rare in the nursery trade but is one of the showiest flowering trees available anywhere. It is successful in the upper US, Lower Canada, the UK and New Zealand.

Yellowhorn

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