By virtue of the modest metal plaque standing in front of the smooth, mottled, gray-barked tree in the foreground, this Yellowwood in Palisades Park was proclaimed the state champion tree for its species. The species Cladrastis kentuckea is characterized by its brilliant yellow fall color and large, wisteria-like white blooms, up to 12 inches or more long and half as wide. Blooming time is late April to early May. The Yellowwood’s range is Kentucky to north Alabama and North Carolina to the Arkansas Ozarks. It is rare throughout its range. Present to commemorate the occasion of installing the plaque are those who had a role in identifying the tree and submitting it for consideration to the Alabama Forestry Commission. From left: Terry Helms, Blount County Forestry Commission; Juanita Turley, Blount County Council of Garden Clubs; Joe Spradlin, Blount County Forestry Commission; Ann Frank, Palisades Park employee who discovered the tree last May when it bloomed; Bob Turley, chairman, Palisades Park Board; Probate Judge David Standridge; Gladys Daily, Blount County Forestry Commission; and Jeff Todd, Palisades Park manager.
– Ron Gholson