PlantFiles: Chinese Flame Tree, Bougainvillea Golden Rain Tree, Southern Goldenraintree Koelreuteria bipinnata
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Hardiness: 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)
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!
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.
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.
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 Arvada, Colorado Fort Collins, Colorado Longwood, Florida Macgregor, Florida Umatilla, Florida Douglasville, Georgia Kentwood, Louisiana Leblanc, Louisiana Old Jefferson, Louisiana Glendale, Missouri India Hook, South Carolina Austin, Texas San Antonio, Texas Victoria, Texas Lexington, Virginia