Koelreuteria - - Semi-mature and mature Koelreuteria paniculata

02 9652 0300



Koelreuteria paniculata - Golden Rain Tree, Pride of China, China Tree, Varnish Tree





China and Korea

Plant Type:

Deciduous tree


10 - 15m x 10 - 15m, often smaller in cultivation.

Habit/ Form:

A single or double trunked tree with irregular ascending main branches and drooping (often twisted and stunted) outer branches, forming a rounded crown.


Alternate, imparipinnate, to 375mm long, with 9 to 17 ovate leaflets, 80 - 100mm x 40 -50mm, margins lobed and coarsely serrate, dark green turning yellow brown or yellow in autumn. The leaves can sometime be bipinnate.


An asymmetrical flower, with four lanceolate petals in a semi-circle on one side of the flower, yellow, on a 350mm tall terminal panicle held above the foliage. Main flowering late spring to mid summer. The shedding flower petals are what give this tree its common name Golden Rain Tree.


An inflated, three celled, bladder-like, capsule, to 45mm long, green aging to red, in late summer, then splitting when ripe in mid autumn to expose black seeds. The capsules change to brown in winter.

Bark / Trunk:

The leaf scars on young stems are distinctively triangular, the bark is green aging to pale brown and becoming furrowed

Vigour / Longevity:

Slow to moderately vigorous, long lived.

Environmental Requirements:

Sunny positions, with some wind protection for best foliage and fruit display.


Tolerates hot summers and cold winters to -10°C, neglect, pollution, drought, alkaline soils and wind. The appearance will suffer in extreme conditions.

Soil / Drainage:

The best specimens are on deep, fertile, well drained, moist soils. These trees will survive on poorer soils but their appearance will suffer of the tree will suffer in extreme conditions.


Early training to a single leader and to remove crossing branches is essential, often forms several trunks. Remove suckers from roots and trunk - suckering on this tree is often a sign of stress.


Extra watering, especially for young plants will improve vigour and appearance. Drought tolerant once established, foliage will burn and drop in extreme drought.


Fertilise in late winter till established.

Pests / Diseases:

Some leaf burn in very hot, dry or windy conditions.


Street tree, shade tree, fruit colour contrast tree, autumn colour contrast tree, fruits used in flower arrangements.



© Text reproduced here with the kind permission of Tony Wilson and Barck Books.



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