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Koelreuteria paniculata, Golden Rain Tree, Varnish tree, Chinese Flame

Koelreuteria paniculata

Golden Rain Tree, Varnish tree, Chinese Flame
Family: Sapindaceae
Origin: China and Korea
USDA Zone: 5-10?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapSmall tree 10-20 ftSemi-shadeFull sunModerate waterYellow, orange flowersPlant attracts butterflies, hummingbirdsEthnomedical plant.
Plants marked as ethnomedical and/or described as medicinal, are not offered as medicine but rather as ornamentals or plant collectibles.
Ethnomedical statements / products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We urge all customers to consult a physician before using any supplements, herbals or medicines advertised here or elsewhere.Subtropical or temperate zone plant. Mature plant cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short timeSeaside, salt tolerant plant

Koelreuteria paniculata, also known as the golden rain tree, is native to China and Korea. It is a small tree that grows to be 10-20ft tall. This tree thrives in full sun or semi-shade and requires moderate water. It is salt tolerant and can grow near the sea. Its bright yellow and orange flowers are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds and bloom from summer through fall, possibly even into winter.

In addition to its beauty, Koelreuteria paniculata has a number of practical uses. The tree's fruit is edible and its seeds are dispersed when the inflated capsular fruits shatter and are blown by the wind. The tree is also used as a dye and in traditional medicine. It is considered low maintenance and has no serious pests or diseases. It is drought resistant and grown for its flowers and papery, lantern-like fruit.

The tree has a small, open-branching, deciduous form with a rounded crown. Its leaves are pinkish bronze to purplish when they first emerge in spring, turn bright green in the summer, and yellow (the intensity of the color may vary) in the fall. In China, the tree is known as "Luan" and its flowers are used as a yellow dye and in traditional medicine.

Koelreuteria paniculata thrives in USDA Zone 5-10. It can be grown in pots and is suitable for urban planting due to its adaptability to a wide range of soils and its tolerance of wind, drought, and city air pollutants. It grows best in well-drained soil in full sun and has a low growth rate. It can be staked in the early years to ensure a straight trunk and makes a nice patio tree, providing light shade. However, its brittle wood can break easily in windy weather.

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