Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Chinese Flame Tree, Bougainvillea Golden Rain Tree, Southern Goldenraintree
Koelreuteria bipinnata

Family: Sapindaceae (sap-in-DAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Koelreuteria (keel-roo-TER-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: bipinnata (by-pin-NAY-tuh) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

5 members have or want this plant for trade.


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

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:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Flowers are good for drying and preserving

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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By thehumblebumble
Thumbnail #1 of Koelreuteria bipinnata by thehumblebumble

By RKChesnutt
Thumbnail #2 of Koelreuteria bipinnata by RKChesnutt

By Gustichock
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By growin
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There are a total of 12 photos.
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6 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative Pawz On Sep 30, 2014, Pawz from Burbank, CA wrote:

I have admired these trees for years, and when I decided to put two new shade trees in my front yard several years ago this is what I chose to plant. They have both grown very quickly and do provide excellent afternoon shade for our west facing house. Unfortunately, what I didn't realize beforehand is how extremely messy the tree is. From the time it first begins flowering (in mid summer in my area) there is a constant litter of yellow flowers on the ground. It is now almost October and the flowering continues with no end in sight. If this was occurring out in the garden, I would welcome the display but, unfortunately, the messiest of the two trees was planted a few feet from my driveway and my front porch. This results in flowers (and probably pollen as well) constantly entering our house on everyone's clothes and shoes. We sweep off the porch and driveway several times daily, but after a couple of hours it's right back to its original state. While the tree is not listed as particularly highly allergenic, we have all been having terrible allergy problems perhaps due to its close proximity to the house.
Also of note is the huge number of jadera bugs which we noticed for the first time after planting these trees. While the bugs don't seem to create any real problems, at least so far, they are somewhat of a nuisance and seem to be everywhere, although thankfully not inside.
Last but not least, it should also be noted that these trees reseed prolifically once the seed pods finally fall. The germination rate is very high, and we are constantly pulling up seedlings from all of our flower beds, even in the back yard. I'm sure the neighbors must love me at this point.
While I am a true plant lover and it's difficult for me not to try to find the positive in any plant, I must admit that I feel my choice of trees in this case was a colossal mistake. For use in a garden away from the house and any walkways, I would probably still recommend this as it is certainly a beautiful tree. Just beware of the the shortfalls.

Positive Stacii On Feb 19, 2014, Stacii from Montezuma, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Grown in east central Florida - fast growing shade tree with beautiful blooms.

Positive rodanza On Feb 25, 2013, rodanza from Yellow Bluff, AL wrote:

Just wanted to let you know that this tree is also growing in Newville, Alabama (just north of Dothan, AL.).

Neutral manza On Sep 17, 2012, manza from Long Beach, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

This tree is growing at California State University, Long Beach, in the engineering building parking lot and by the Japanese Gardens.

I've read that this plant is often associated with the Jadera bug.

Positive JuliBuli On Dec 26, 2011, JuliBuli from Glendora, CA wrote:

I live in Glendora, California. We are in Southern California. For many years, I have noticed this particular tree growing across the street from my house. I always seem to pay attention to it more in the late fall when the "blooms", which actually are the seed pods, are in their full production. Usually, the tree has bothered me because the color of these pods fades rather quickly from a pink to a salmon color. They tend to stay on the tree a long time,and I prefer "true" or brilliant colored things. So,you can almost say I get annoyed when the pods linger. Recently, we had a major Santa Ana windstorm which caused millions of dollars in damage to several local communities.I was amazed that this tree, who nobody seemed to know the botanical name of,
survived the storm and the pods were still lingering on the tree, fading away daily. Then, I notced a resurgence in the color of the pods, (after a recent rain), and I started to see this tree all over town. My dad had been a nurseryman, and he never pointed this tree out to me that I can recall. So, now, my amazement grew into curiosity and I tried endlessly to find its name on the internet. No avail. Then, I saw a gentleman sweeping up the leaf debris and some of the pods from his exact same tree. I asked him if he knew what it was called and he said he had heard it referred to as The Chinese Lantern tree. I told him that the pods looked similar to bouganvilla bracts,and I could see where the lantern name comes in, because they look literally like little lanterns surrounding the seed. I also thought the foliage looked similar to an Albesia, and I asked him if he thought it might have originated from Africa. He just didn't know. Well, I took the pods, a few leaflets and even a starter sprig to Paul Comstock, a landscape architect and horticulturalist. He pegged it immediately as a Chinese Lantern tree and his wife Stephanie said it was the koelreuteria bipinnatta. I then googled the name and now realize it is also a Golden raintree. That is perhaps the most interesting to me of all, because, all my perturbance over the weak pod color, I have never paid any attention to the beautiful display of yellow blooms. How funny we are in our surroundings. I am so glad I know what the tree is called, and that someone else thought the pods looked like lanterns and even like bouganvilla bracts. Horticulture can be very intriguing. I will be anticipating the prolific showering of yellow in spring!

Positive htop On Nov 9, 2008, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Koelreuteria bipinnata can be distinguished from Koelreuteria paniculata by the bipinnately compound leaves with entire or finely toothed leaflets, flowers with 4 petals and elliptically shaped fruits. The seedpod bracts change from pink to salmon. Koelreuteria paniculata has once pinnately to a few imperfectly bipinnately compound leaves, coarsely toothed to lobed leaflets, 5-petaled flowers and conically shaped fruits. Koelreuteria elegans differs from K. bipinnata by its being evergreen, having tighter inflorescences and having leaflets with very oblique bases.

Positive ARWadoo On Oct 24, 2008, ARWadoo from Srinagar
India wrote:

I have seen the plant growing as an avenue tree in La jolla sandiego. Infall with its coloured pods and green foliage the plant is attractive.

Positive nalin1 On Sep 30, 2006, nalin1 from New Delhi
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

A drought hardy tree in Zone 10a New Delhi, Koelreuteria Bipinnata is also known as the golden 'Pride of India' tree. (Another more well-known Pride of India tree is the Crepe Myrtle-- Lagerstroemia Indica and Lagerstroemia Flos Regina that have pink and mauve flowers respectively. The L.Thorelii also has pink flowers.).

Fairly fast growing, Koelreuteria has beautiful panicles of small yellow flowers late summer through October, and the fruit capsules that follow are papery pinkish red lantern shapes that stay on the tree a long time also looking like flowers from a distance.

Koelreuteria bipinnata is a very nice shady tree that grows to over 30 feet with an equivalent spread. I am planting one at the parking lot at my farmhouse near two Spathodeas.Technically in some areas both these trees may be classified as 'weeds', but that aspect is quite manageable with a little care in this growing zone, and there are no reports of these as weeds. (I understand that the koelreuteria paniculata is quite invasive.)

The yellow flowers of koelreuteria bipinnata turning to pinkish red is a fine late summer-autumn show that lingers on.

Neutral thehumblebumble On Aug 7, 2004, thehumblebumble from Heber Springs, AR (Zone 7b) wrote:

The Golden rain tree has beautiful bright yellow blooms but here it is and extremely slow grower. Which would be good if you were looking for a specimen tree which stays compact.


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

Newville, Alabama
Semmes, Alabama
Benton, Arkansas
Heber Springs, Arkansas
Glendora, California
Hayward, California
Long Beach, California
Manteca, California
San Diego, California
Arvada, Colorado
Fort Collins, Colorado
Cocoa, Florida
Longwood, Florida
Umatilla, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Douglasville, Georgia
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Kentwood, Louisiana
Leblanc, Louisiana
Saint Louis, Missouri
Las Vegas, Nevada
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Austin, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Victoria, Texas
Lexington, Virginia

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