Caragana arborescens

Siberian Peashrub




  • native to Manchuria and Siberia
  • hardy to zone 2

Habit and Form

  • a deciduous large shrub to small tree
  • typically multistemmed
  • upright, erect to spreading branches
  • develops an upright, almost columnar shape
  • can also be rounded in shape
  • up to 20' tall, usually with a lesser width
  • typically devoid of branches and foliage at the base

Summer Foliage

  • deciduous leaves
  • alternate arrangement of evenly pinnate leaves
  • leaves are 1.5" to 3" long
  • leaves have 8 to 12 leaflets
  • leaflets are 0.5" to 1" long
  • leaflets are 0.5" to 1' long
  • leaflets are ovate to ovoid
  • leaves are silky when young
  • foliage color matures to a bright green

Autumn Foliage

  • yellow-green color
  • not impressive


  • small yellow, pea-like flowers
  • blooms in early to mid-May
  • held singly or in groups of up to 4
  • not overwhelming


  • a tan legume pod
  • cylindrical and slender
  • about 1.5" to 2" long
  • changes from green to tan in July and August
  • pods open forcefully


  • stems are a dark, glossy green
  • bark on older branches is also smooth in places, but the color is less vivid


  • full sun
  • tolerant of adverse growing conditions
  • doesn't mind poor, dry soils
  • tolerant of extreme cold
  • tolerant of salt
  • tolerant of winds
  • fixes nitrogen

Landscape Use

  • borders
  • screen/hedge
  • windbreaker
  • for difficult growing sites
  • container plant due to tolerance of cold and drought


  • leaf-hoppers
  • a canker disease/affliction
  • not an overwhelming ornamental plant

ID Features

  • yellow, pea-like flowers
  • upright, multistemmed, columnar habit
  • even pinnate leaves
  • glossy, greenish stems
  • spur-like growth on older wood
  • twigs with conspicuous decurrent lines
  • stipules persist and sometimes are nearly thorn-like


  • cultivars by cuttings or grafting
  • by seed


'Lorbergii' - A graceful form with linear leaves and fine texture. Grows to about 8' tall.

'Nana' - A dwarf form with somewhat contorted branches. Maximum height is between 3' to 6'. Tends to have dense foliage and more blossoms than the species.

'Pendula' (Weeping Peashrub) - A weeping form with stiffly arching branches. Typically grafted onto a standard at 4' to 6' from the ground. A fairly nice form that can be used as a specimen. Foliage and flowering is similar to the species. This is a very common form often seen in commerce as a small tree. 'Walker' is a weeping form with finely dissected foliage.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.