Koelreuteria paniculata

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Koelreuteria paniculata
Foliage and flowers of var. apiculata
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Koelreuteria
K. paniculata
Binomial name
Koelreuteria paniculata
Leaf of var. paniculata

Koelreuteria paniculata is a species of flowering plant in the family Sapindaceae, native to eastern Asia (China and Korea). It was introduced in Europe in 1747, and to America in 1763, and has become a popular landscape tree worldwide.[2][3] Common names include goldenrain tree,[4][5] pride of India,[6] China tree,[7] and the varnish tree.[5]


It is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 7 m (23 ft) tall, with a broad, dome-shaped crown. The leaves are pinnate, 15–40 cm (6–16 in) long, rarely to 50 cm (20 in), with 7-15 leaflets 3–8 cm long, with a deeply serrated margin; the larger leaflets at the midpoint of the leaf are sometimes themselves pinnate but the leaves are not consistently fully bipinnate as in the related Koelreuteria bipinnata.

The flowers are yellow, with four petals, growing in large terminal panicles 20–40 cm (8–16 in) long. The fruit is a three-part inflated bladderlike pod, 3–6 cm long and 2–4 cm broad, that is green, then ripening from orange to pink in autumn. It contains several dark brown to black seeds 5–8 mm diameter.

There are several varieties:

  • K. paniculata var. paniculata. Northern China and Korea. Leaves single-pinnate.
  • K. paniculata var. apiculata (Rehder & E.H.Wilson) Rehder (syn. K. apiculata).[8] Western China (Sichuan), intergrading with var. paniculata in central China. Leaves with larger leaflets commonly bipinnate.
  • K. paniculata var. fastigiata. Small growing columnar form originated in 1888.[9]
  • K. paniculata var. variegata. a form with variegated foliage.[9]


It is popularly grown as an ornamental tree in temperate regions all across the world because of the aesthetic appeal of its flowers, leaves and seed pods. Several cultivars have been selected for garden planting, including 'Fastigiata' with a narrow crown, and 'September Gold', flowering in late summer.

In the UK the cultivar ‘Coral Sun’ has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[10][11]

In some areas, notably the eastern United States and particularly in Florida, it is considered an invasive species.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Ye, J.; Yu, S.; Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) & IUCN SSC Global Tree Specialist Group (2019). "Koelreuteria paniculata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019: e.T18776387A147626783. Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  2. ^ "Golden Rain Tree Koelreuteria paniculata". Monrovia. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Goldenraintree Tree on the Tree Guide at arborday.org". www.arborday.org. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  4. ^ "PLANTS Profile for Koelreuteria paniculata (goldenrain tree)". Natural Resources Conservation Service. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  5. ^ a b UConn Plant Database Archived 2009-06-25 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
  7. ^ goldenrain tree.Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-07-12.
  8. ^ Sargent, Charles (1916). Plantae Wilsonianae : An enumeration of the woody plants collected in western China for the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University during the years 1907, 1908, and 1910 by E. H. Wilson. Cambridge (Mass): University Press. pp. 191–193.
  9. ^ a b More, David (2003). Cassell's trees of Britain & Northern Europe. John White. London: Cassell. p. 711. ISBN 0-304-36192-5. OCLC 47232390.
  10. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Koelreuteria paniculata 'Coral Sun'". Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  11. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 57. Retrieved 17 March 2018.


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