Panicled Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata)
The panicled golden rain tree is best known for its bright yellow flowers that cover the tree in the summer. These small flowers appear at the ends of branches in 12-inch to 15-inch-long loose clusters. When the petals fall, the tree appears to be encircled by a golden carpet. These flowers give way to paper-like, heart shaped fruits, that are often said to look like Chinese lanterns. The panicled golden rain tree makes a great small lawn or patio tree.
Family: Sapindaceae (Soapberry)
Characteristics: The leaves are pinnately compound (leaflets attached in pairs along stem) and have 7-15 lobed, rich green leaflets. Young leaves will emerge in a bronze to purple color. In the fall, leaves may turn yellow. In June-July, bright yellow, half-inch-wide flowers appear at the ends of branches in 12-inch to 15-inch-long panicles (loose branching clusters). These flowers give way to papery, heart shaped fruits that are 1.5-2 inches long and turn brown when ripe. Bark is light gray and slightly ridged and furrowed. This tree has an irregular shape when young, but will develop to a more uniformly rounded shape with age. It grows 30-40 feet high and wide.
Foliage: Deciduous (leaves lost seasonally)
Geographic Origin: Northern Korea, China, Japan (non-native)
Cultivation Notes: Requires low maintenance. Does best in full sun. Prefers moist and well-drained soils, though adapts well to a wide variety of soil types and conditions. This tree is tolerant to drought and air pollution. In the right conditions, this tree can be can be very fast growing.
Number on Campus: 6
Sources: Dirr, Morton Arboretum, Missouri Botanical Garden