Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Chinese Flowering Chestnut, Shiny Leaf Yellowhorn
Xanthoceras sorbifolium

Family: Sapindaceae (sap-in-DAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Xanthoceras (zan-tho-KER-as) (Info)
Species: sorbifolium (sor-bee-FOH-lee-um) (Info)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

10 members have or want this plant for trade.


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
4.5 or below (very acidic)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 18 photos.
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6 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive dcsschmidt On Jun 30, 2014, dcsschmidt from Benton City, WA wrote:

When the seed pods have fallen off the tree and the seeds inside the pod are black you can harvest them. We grind them for our chickens but our neighbor roasts and eats them. I do need to know if the leaves are OK around horses though! BTW the Chinese use the pods for fodder for their cattle.

Positive coriaceous On Mar 7, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Rhymes with "rhinoceros".... or near enough...

In May it covers itself in showy white flowers whose centers change color from yellow through orange to red as they age. The display rivals that of any flowering tree. The healthy trees in the Arnold Arboretum put on a great show.

I suspect it's the pronunciation of the name that's preventing this wonderful tree/shrub from becoming better known.

Slow growing, upright, blooming when young, reaching 18-24' at maturity. Stiffly and sparingly branched, often multitrunked. Foliage is handsome and glossy, holds late in the fall but does not color up. The seeds are said to be tasty when roasted.

Adaptable, tolerating high pH soils, performing best in full sun. It's said to be hard to transplant, and Dirr says it hates the hot humid summers of the southeastern US. Z(3)4 to 6(7) on the east coast, but may tolerate milder winters with cooler summers on the west coast.

Positive vmokkamom On Apr 26, 2011, vmokkamom from Kennewick, WA wrote:

Love the Yellowhorn trees! We received a round pod with seeds in it about 10 years ago from my sister-in-law. I thought their bush was so beautiful. She was not sure what it was named or if the "round Thing" was a seed or fruit or nut or had seeds in it. My husband put it away in our extra fridge and opened and planted some of the seeds in small potsThe following spring. I think we had approx. 7 come up. We had just about given up on them. We have 3 all 12+ feet tall. One is from the 1st planting and 2 others are second plantings from the same group of seeds. We also gave a bunch to family and friends. We also have 2 small ones that will probably be bushes versis the other 3 are groomed as nice trees. The first planting all were called the "Todd Trees" after my nephew who went through a tough heart surgery sucessfully on the same day the 1st planting of these beautiful trees emerged from the soil. So they are very special to us!
Thanks and I would like to hear anyother stories.

Positive jessfreya On Jul 14, 2010, jessfreya from worksop Nottinghamshire
United Kingdom wrote:

Bought this as a 2 year old ( 2ft ) dry root plant grown from seed by the nursery. I have had it about 5 years and its now 12ft tall and still going. Looks lovely when in full flower the white flowers fading through to a carmine red before they drop, and people who see it in flower come knocking. We live on a clay based soil and it seems to thrive, occasionally having a bit of die back( dont know why) the garden temp got down to -10 this winter but it came back as good as ever. Flowers seem to last for about a month to 6 weeks on average. Been totally hardy up to now. Grown a new plant from seed ( self set ) for a neighbour this year, seems to have a few suckers, so will try to get them going as well at the end of the year. This year it has suprised me with a large nut case similar to a smooth horse chesnut and about the size of a golf ball at the moment but i will let it grow and see what happens. Pictures to follow.

Positive grik On Jul 29, 2009, grik from Saint Paul, MN wrote:

I grew this small tree from seed. The seeds sprout easily and the trees flower while it still quite small. My trees are about 6 feet tall and 5 years old. The flower profusely in the early spring.

The flowers remind me of catalpa flowers. I have never noticed any fragrance to them. After the flowers fade the tree has nice glossy green compound foliage that looks good all season. The fruits are small round nut like things. Mine are growing in partial shade on a very dry slope and seem to sucker a bit. The tree is totally hardy in St. Paul, MN - never any die back.

I belive that the squirrels are taking the fruit - a round capsule with large seeds. I wonder if they eat it? If I will start to find new plants about like I do with black walnuts?

Positive Artdeco On Jun 19, 2006, Artdeco from Palatine, IL wrote:

In part-shade (Zone 5) it's very slow-growing, maybe 3' high in 5 years. But started blooming when small - not much flowers, just enough to remind me why I planted it. The flowers are beautiful & dainty.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Aptos, California
Littleton, Colorado
Patterson, Georgia
Palatine, Illinois
Louisville, Kentucky
Taylorsville, Kentucky
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Topsfield, Massachusetts
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Helena, Montana
Lincoln, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska
Bucyrus, Ohio
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Newport News, Virginia
Benton City, Washington
Kennewick, Washington
Richland, Washington

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