Koelreuteria paniculata

The Garden’s Curator of Collections, Douglas Justice, took today’s Botany Photo of the Day. He wrote the accompanying entry as well.

Koelreuteria paniculata, or golden rain tree, is a drought resistant tree from China, grown for its abundant summer flowers and its papery, lantern-like fruit. It forms a broad crown (to 15 m) with pinnate leaves that emerge hot-pink before turning green. Known as Luan in China, its flowers are used both as a yellow dye and in traditional medicine, and the tree is planted over the graves of scholars. The inflated capsular fruit are wind-blown, and they ultimately shatter in order to disseminate the seeds. Though it is naturalized in many places (Korea, Japan, and the U.S.), because of its drought tolerance and capacity for long-distance dispersal K. paniculata does not generally spread under Vancouver’s wet winter conditions.

This specimen, planted at the Botanical Garden entrance, was grown from wild seed collected in South Korea. Another specimen from the same seed batch faced this tree from across the courtyard. The other tree was less compact in growth and considerably inferior with respect to flowering, but its seed capsules were always coloured bright red and very showy, whereas this specimen’s fruits are always dull brown. Note the bald eagle perched on the Douglas fir snag in the distance.

Koelreuteria paniculata
Koelreuteria paniculata'

13 responses to “Koelreuteria paniculata”

  1. Meg Bernstein

    The bald eagle is even enjoying it.

  2. Louise

    Incredible!…and is that a Bald Eagle perched above it on the tree branch?….Wonderful photo!
    Thank you for sharing …:)

  3. Cathy

    There are about 12 outside of the NIH building in Bethesda, MD – USA. 4-season interest. Sad it is not native, but I can’t help loving it still. A lovely native our area is the dogwood (Cornus Florida) with 4-season interest, but not as full or yellow.

  4. annie morgan

    So many flowers are yellow, aren’t they. It’s become quite noticeable now that I see the daily photograph! Warm and beautiful. Wonderful to have caught the eagle, too, in the second pic.

  5. Adriana

    I always love it when you put a favorite woody plant on the site! At OSUs Chadwick Arboretum, we lost our large Koelreuteria to an unknown pathogen. It was about 9 meters and the show piece of that part of the garden. I have a seedling of it growing in my personal garden now so the gentics live on! Thanks for another great picture!

  6. The Hollyberry Lady

    Those are just stunning!
    : )

  7. Tree Zed

    An idea – not meaning to be demanding here – but
    can you include the Zone for the plants that you post? My first thought is ALWAYS “Can I grow this in my garden?” I suppose it should be “Can I fit this in my garden” 🙂
    This tree is really quite lovely and I truly would like to know if I could grow one.
    Love the eagle.

  8. Nancy Palmer

    Widely grown in the landscape in south Florida. It is great to see it in a ‘northern’ garden setting.
    A very impressive photo, as always!

  9. Lanie

    beautiful pictures, I love the eagle too. I have always loved the tree. I come from zone 4 and saw one there but I am not sure if they thrive there. I am in zone 4-5 and would like to know if they thrive here so I can plant one here.

  10. Dana

    For those of you thinking this would be a wonderful tree for your landscape, keep in mind the paper-like lanterns attract Box Elder bugs by the thousands. They make this tree a bad choice for hanging over your back patio because they will get on you while you are relaxing on your patio. You also don’t want this tree anywhere near a home during the fall when these bugs seek warmth. These trees are best for parking lots, golf courses or large landscapes.

  11. elizabeth a airhart

    a very lovely picture like the front
    cover of a calendar
    i live west central coast of fl
    this fine tree blooms all around me
    the eagles have brought a halt
    to more then one project with
    thier nests
    thank you mr justice lovely photo

  12. Burt

    Invasive! Don’t plant it.

  13. Graham

    Classy small specimen tree,early blooming and resilient . Here in the Okanagan, BC our 8-yr old tree in an exposed location suffered extensive dieback in a protracted early coal spell (-23C) last winter which also zapped most peach buds. Other winters it has withstood -25C with little damage. Drought tolerance relative; coming from East Asia it’s used to monsoon summers and long mild dry falls. Here it has to be watered consistently or it defoliates and even dies back in July.

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