Historians, writers, politicians and other eminent personalities across the Globe have greatly appreciated India and its contribution to rest of the world. Though these remarks are only a partial reflection of the greatness of India, they certainly make us feel proud of our motherland.
We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific
discovery could have been made!”
Albert Einstein(Theoretical Physicist, Germany)
“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition.
Our most valuable and most artistic materials in the history of man are
treasured up in India only!”
Mark Twain(Writer, America)
There are some parts of the world that, once visited, get into your heart and won’t go. For me, India is such a place. When I first visited, I was stunned by the richness of the land, by its lush beauty and exotic architecture, by its ability to overload the senses with the pure, concentrated intensity of its colors, smells, tastes, and sounds.
It was as if all my life I had been seeing the world in black and white and, when brought face-to-face with India,
experienced everything re-rendered in brilliant technicolor.”
Keith Bellows(Editor-in-chief, National Geographic Society)
“She (India) has left indelible imprints on one fourth of the human race in the course of a long succession of centuries. She has the right to reclaim … her place amongst the great nations summarizing and symbolizing the spirit of humanity.
From Persia to the Chinese sea, from the icy regions of Siberia to Islands of Java and Borneo,
India has propagated her beliefs, her tales, and her civilization!”
Sylvia Levi(French Scholar)
- Koelreuteria paniculata, The Golden Rain Tree; Friend or Foe?
- Golden Rain Tree
- Through the Seasons
- Establishment and Care
- In the Landscape
- Stunning in Bloom
- Plant Database
Koelreuteria paniculata, The Golden Rain Tree; Friend or Foe?
Koelreuteria paniculata, commonly known as the golden rain tree is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is a glorious landscape addition, sporting armloads of lemon yellow blossoms each summer that stop traffic. On the other hand, it is a short-lived tree that produces vast amounts of seeds that can turn into unwanted offspring in the right conditions. This is why it is always best to research any plant you intend to bring into your garden.
This Asian native was introduced to North America in 1763, so it was a familiar sight even before the Revolution. It tolerates a high range of conditions because it isn’t terribly picky about soil and tolerates drought well once it is established. It likes a sunny spot, but will bloom with only 6 hours of direct sun each day. However, the best show is when the tree grows in moderately fertile ground in full sun.
It is a small to medium landscape tree, quickly growing to between 30 and 40 feet tall, so is a good choice for fast shade. Careful pruning while the tree is young is important. Train it to a single trunk and keep only the side branches that do not form a tight ‘V’. The wood is strong, but brittle, so storm damage is a real possibility without proper care. That’s a ‘strike’ in many gardener’s opinions. It is also a short lived tree with a life-span of about 50 years, which is another ‘strike’. This tough little tree doesn’t mind heat and automobile exhaust, so that makes it a good candidate for a urban street tree, however, the falling blossoms, dried seed pods and the hard, round seeds also contribute to debris on the ground, so homeowners should site it away from driveways and walkways.
We have a spectacular specimen growing on the lawn of the ‘court square’ in our little town. It is well over 40 feet tall and it puts on a tremendous show every year. Yellow is such an unusual color for a flowering tree and this one is so massive, it literally stops traffic when it is in bloom. We are a cool Zone 7 or a warm Zone 6 and there doesn’t seem to be a problem with unwanted seedlings, however in warmer climates they can be an invasive problem. We are at the northern edge of this tree’s hardiness area of Zones 6 through 9. That is another reason to check before you plant. The golden rain tree is considered invasive in a number of areas due to the prolific seed production and bazillions of offspring. Give it another ‘strike’. But there are quite a few reasons to plant one if this isn’t a problem. Early spring leaves are an attractive pinkish color and the early summer blooms are breathtaking. The roots are not invasive to plumbing and sewers and very few pests seem to bother it, although deer will brows young trees if hungry. The thousands of lantern-shaped seed pods give the tree an unusual appearance through the end of summer and fall foliage is a stunning golden yellow. Bees adore the flowers, so this tree is beneficial to them and other pollinators.
Koelreuteria paniculata has a couple of cousins that tend to be even weedier and more invasive, so if you purchase one, please do so from a reputable source to be sure of what you are buying. K. bipinnata and K. elegans are less cold-hardy, but produce many more seeds and their offspring can start a battle that can last for decades. They have the lovely floral show, but the price in headaches is not worth it.
The golden rain tree was part of the Asian natural pharmacy with a tea that was used as an eyewash for conjunctivitis. The young seeds were roasted and eaten and the young shoots and leaves were boiled and eaten as a potherb. This is good news for anyone dealing with unwanted seedlings, however, they must be boiled through a couple of changes of water to remove the traces of cyanide that they contain. Apparently this was considered a famine food and consumed when other options were unavailable. However, Asians held this tree in high regard and it was often planted over the graves of honored scholars.
Artists who love natural elements should note that the flowers produce a yellow natural dye and the leaves produce a black natural dye. The hard, round seeds are excellent beads for artists who make jewelry. The dried seed pods add texture and interest in floral arrangements as well.
If your property meets the criteria for a peaceful friendship with the golden rain tree, it is best to plant it in the spring. Water well for the first season and be careful with mowers and weedeaters because the young bark is easy to injure. If you admire a tree in your neighborhood, perhaps the owner will allow you to take a cutting or two, since they are easy to root. Barring that, the seeds germinate well (too well sometimes) They do need stratification (a period of damp cold) to germinate. Just be aware of potential problems and do your homework before you plant. In the right conditions, the rain of golden blossoms falling from the tree each summer makes for a spectacular show.
Golden Rain Tree
The amazing bright yellow flowers of the popular landscape tree, Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) last for a month – or more – in summertime. They’ll make you stop and stare. And the heavenly fragrance is out of this world!
Kids love the “Firecracker Tree” with it’s 15 inch long panicles of lovely yellow blooms with red centers. Golden Rain Trees bloom late with a splashy display of intense yellow flowers, one of the few to show this color. Yellow is a rare color for flowering trees.
You’ll love watching the pinkish to bronze leaf buds emerge in spring to almost purple before opening to a bright green. The leaves are made up of 7 to as many as 17 individual leaflets. Our horticulture team calls it a pinnate of bipinnately compound leaves, but you’ll appreciate their soft, feathery look.
The deep blue-green color also really helps those brilliant yellow flowers to pop! In fall, you’ll be glad to know the leaves give a wonderful fall display of orange-yellow color.
This is a spunky, pretty tree that’s always doing something ornamental in the landscape. Once it’s established, it can grow 2 – 3 feet a year in certain parts of the country.
You’ve probably watched Golden Rain Trees in your area develop showy, air-filled papery fruit capsules that look like tiny little Chinese Lanterns dangling from the branches in fall. They’ll start off flushed with salmon pink-orange, and turn light pistachio green, then deepen into chocolate brown.
The Golden Rain Tree has a lovely, Oriental look, with a broadly spreading canopy. Even in winter, you’ll enjoy the pleasing branch structure and attractive bark.
This is an excellent shade tree, known for its rounded crown and well-behaved root system. A medium-sized tree, it features an open-branched form that looks just like a cute, upside down umbrella once mature.
Give it room to grow into it’s mature spread, or width. This tree is disease and pest free and when planted in the right location requires very little extra upkeep.
We recommend using it in an informal way, with groundcover plants established underneath it. The root system is deep, so it’s easy to grow shade-tolerant smaller plants underneath.
A native of the Northern China and Japan, Golden Rain Tree is a deciduous tree valued for its tolerance to drought, it’s beauty and durability. And ask any local butterfly or honeybee, it’s prized for as a nectar source, too. What a thoughtful ornamental tree to help support local pollinators.
Able to adapt to a wide range of soil types and tolerate harsh city environments, it’s used by urban forestry planners in city parks and commercial businesses where other trees may have difficulties in getting established.
Order the Golden Rain Tree today! It’s one of the most desirable water-wise trees in the world and would be a splendid addition to your landscape.
How to Use Golden Rain Tree in the Landscape
There are a lot of things to love about this versatile and lovely tree. It can be used in many landscape applications.
Use one as a small shade tree in your yard planting or 20 feet from the patio. You’ll love the effortless way Golden Rain Tree works as an accent tree.
Live near traffic noise? Use Golden Rain Tree as a beautiful backdrop along your property line. It muffles traffic noise, and isn’t bothered by air pollution.
For a gorgeous broad avenue along your property line, plant multiple trees 20 feet apart on center. You’ll measure from the trunk of one to the trunk of the next.
The root system is deep and non-invasive. It can be used near paving and concrete without damage. It is a great choice for narrow median strips and walkways in informal settings. And this tree is so tough that it is well adapted to the harsh conditions of a parking lot shade tree.
It makes a fantastic single specimen tree in a created dry creek or rock garden. Rugged Golden Rain Tree is wonderful in pastures, homesteads and farms. Plant several near bee hives to boost honey production.
#ProPlantTips for Care
Give this sun-loving tree a planting site where it will receive full sun throughout the day. It is widely adapted to most soils, but does prefer a well-drained soil.
Apply a slow release fertilizer in late winter to feed the tree all year.
Golden Rain Tree takes well to pruning to control the height and spread, if needed. The best time to prune is in fall or late winter.
It’s a good idea to lightly prune the tips of the branches for several years while your tree is young. This will help encourage additional branching.
Plant groundcover at the base to reduce any need to cleanup from flowers, seed pods and fruit. This is an outstanding showy tree in a natural area.
In certain areas with high humidity, remove seedlings as needed. Nature Hills uses Plant Sentry™, an online system that blocks sale of plants that work “too well” in certain areas. We follow every federal, state and local regulation to the letter. It’s our job to help protect your local environment from plants that behave invasively in your local climate. Please buy plant material responsibly to avoid costly mistakes.
Golden Rain Tree is a splendid addition to your landscape. Its hardy nature and year-round show make it a valuable addition to any yard. In the dryer climates, this tree is invaluable and a “must-have” for many home and municipal locations. Order now!
The golden rain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) is named for the carpet of yellow petals that flitter to the ground around it in summer, creating a magical effect that lasts for several weeks. It is also a tough and adaptable specimen that matures quickly into a small shade tree.
Through the Seasons
The foliage of the golden rain tree consists of large feathery, compound leaves, meaning a dozen or so smaller leaflets comprise the 18-inch true
leaves. The tiny yellow flowers emerge in early summer in elongated clusters from the tips of the branches and then begin to rain by mid-summer. Golden rain tree also has golden yellow foliage in fall and unusual seedpods that hang on the bare branches well into winter, resembling tiny Chinese lanterns.
Establishment and Care
Spring is the optimal time to plant a golden rain tree. Look for trees that have a straight trunk and well-spaced branching pattern in the nursery, as these are more likely to develop a pleasing shape later on. Staking the tree with a stout wooden post on either side is important to keep it from toppling over in high winds before the root system is established.
The beauty of the golden rain tree is the minimal care it requires. Water weekly for the first couple of years and maintain a weed free area around the trunk, ideally covered with mulch.
They don’t always take on a picture perfect shape on their own, so selective pruning may be in order. Remove branches that have either a very wide or very narrow angle with the trunk and thin out smaller branches as needed to maintain an open crown with an even distribution of foliage. Any deadwood that appears in the canopy should be removed.
Potential Problems and Invasive Tendencies
Pests and disease generally aren’t an issue with the golden rain tree. However, in certain parts of the country it has a tendency to spread itself by seed, popping up all over the landscape where it is not desired. It can even spread into natural areas and displace native species – this is particularly problematic in the Deep South and other warm climates.
If you find golden rain seedlings growing where you don’t want them, there are two primary options for controlling them. One is to remove them by hand, roots and all. This is effective for scattered seedlings less than waist high, but gets difficult once the trees are much bigger or if there are hundreds to deal with. In this case, the best approach is to cut them to the ground, whether with a mower for tiny seedlings or a saw for more established ones. They sprout from their roots, so be prepared to chop them down again as soon as re-growth occurs, repeating the process until the root system is exhausted.
In the Landscape
Golden rain tree is known as a tough survivor. Its ability to handle smog and abuse make it a popular choice in harsh urban conditions, but its adaptability to any soil type and ability to thrive with minimal irrigation make it a worthwhile choice in almost any setting. They reach 30 to 40 feet tall and wide, big enough to make shade, but not so big that they overwhelm the garden and threaten to lift up pavement or drop branches on the house. Golden rain trees are the perfect size for small front yards and provide visual interest through all four seasons.
Golden rain tree is not a species that has been bred into endless hybrids and named cultivars, but there are a few improved varieties worth considering.
- Fastigiata has a pronounced vertical growth habit.
- September is a variety that flowers late in the growing season.
- Stadher’s Hill has ornamental red seed pods.
Stunning in Bloom
Most flowering trees put on their show in spring, leaving the golden rain tree as one of the few showstoppers of mid-summer. When they do bloom, it’s impossible to miss. If you’re thinking of including one in your next landscape improvement project, you will be rewarded in just a few short years, as the golden rain tree grows several feet each season.
Description: This tree is usually 30-40′ tall at maturity (rarely up to 60′ tall), consisting of a short trunk and a wide crown with ascending to widely spreading branches. The crown is usually somewhat open and irregular. On mature trees, the trunk is up to 1¼’ across, consisting of flattened gray ridges and shallow reddish brown furrows. The twigs are light gray to reddish brown, more or less terete, with scattered small lenticels. Young shoots are light green, terete, and glabrous to minutely pubescent. Alternate compound leaves about ¾-1½’ long occur along the twigs and young shoots. These leaves are either single-pinnate or partially bipinnate. Individual leaflets are usually 1½-4″ long and 1-2½” across; they are lanceolate to ovate and either coarsely toothed or shallowly cleft. On bipinnate leaves, there are 1-2 pairs of secondary leaflets below some of the primary leaflets. These secondary leaflets are similar to the primary leaflets, except they are smaller in size and more narrow in shape. The upper leaflet surface is medium green and glabrous, while the lower leaflet surface is light green and either glabrous or minutely pubescent along the central vein. The leaflets usually have short petiolules (up to 1/8″ or 3 mm. long), although some leaflets may be sessile. The petiolules are light green to light yellow-green and glabrous to minutely pubescent. The central stalks (rachises) of the compound leaves are light green to red and glabrous to minutely pubescent.
Twigs occasionally terminate in panicles of flowers about ¾-1½’ long and at least one-half as much across. Each flower is about ½” across, consisting of 4 yellow petals, 4 green sepals, 8 stamens, and a pistil with a single style. While a flower is in bloom, the petals are widely spreading or recurved and they are narrowly lanceolate to lanceolate in shape. The sepals are lanceolate in shape and much shorter than the petals. At the base of each petal, there is a pair of small scale-like appendages that are yellow to orange-red. On the stamens, the lower halves of their filaments have long hairs. Both the style and the stamens are strongly exerted. On some trees, some of the flowers may be unisexual. The pedicels of the flowers are green and either glabrous or minutely pubescent. The peduncle and lateral stalks of each panicle are also green and either glabrous or minutely pubescent.
The blooming period occurs during the summer (usually mid- to late summer in Illinois) for about 2-4 weeks. The flowers are mildly fragrant. Fertile flowers are replaced by inflated seedpods that become 1½-2½” long at maturity. These seedpods are obcordoid and strongly 3-lobed in shape; immature seedpods are light green to bright red, while mature seedpods are light brown to blackish brown. Each seedpod contains up to 3 seeds (1 seed per lobe). Individual seeds are globoid or globoid-ovoid in shape and 6-8 mm. in length. Because the seedpods are light-weight and inflated, they can be blown about by the wind or float on water. The root system is woody. This tree spreads by reseeding itself.
Cultivation: The preference is full or partial sun, well-drained conditions (moist to dry-mesic), and soil containing loam, clay-loam, gravel, silt, or sand. This tree is hardy to about Zone 6 (southern Illinois). In more northern areas of the state, some cultivars of this tree can survive several winters if they are planted in sheltered situations near heated buildings.
Range & Habitat: The introduced Golden Rain Tree rarely naturalizes in Illinois. So far, such trees have been observed in only a single county in southern Illinois. This is mainly because the Golden Rain Tree has trouble surviving the relatively cold winters in Illinois, particularly in the central and northern sections of the state. However, in many southeastern and south-central states further to the south, such naturalized trees are more abundant, and in some of these areas it is considered invasive. The Golden Rain Tree is native to east Asia (primarily China & Japan). It was introduced to North America as an ornamental landscape tree. This tree naturalizes in such habitats as urban parks, roadsides, vacant lots, edges of yards, and other disturbed areas. In east Asia, it occurs in natural areas along seashores, secondary woodlands, and open areas.
Faunal Associations: For North America, the floral-faunal relationships for the Golden Rain Tree are not well-understood. The showy flowers are cross-pollinated by bees and probably other insects that seek nectar and pollen. A leaf-cutting bee that has been introduced from Asia, Megachile sculpturalis (Giant Resin Bee), is known to be one of the pollinators of this tree in the southeastern United States. In North America, insects that feed destructively on this tree appear to be few in number at the present time. The larvae of a Buprestid beetle, Chrysobothris purpureovittata, bore through the wood of dead branches (observed in Missouri). Another insect, Jadera haematoloma (Golden Rain Tree Bug), feeds on the seeds.
Photographic Location: Near an office building in Urbana, Illinois.
Comments: This attractive small tree is the only species of its genus that has naturalized in Illinois. Two similar species are sometimes cultivated in the United States: Koelreuteria bipinnata (Chinese Flame Tree) and Koelreuteria elegans (Chinese Rain Tree). These two trees differ from the Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) by having compound leaves that are fully bipinnate. The Golden Rain Tree, in contrast, has compound leaves that are either single-pinnate or partially bipinnate. The common name, Golden Rain Tree, refers to its abundant yellow flowers falling like rain, creating a carpet of yellow on the ground.
- native to China and Japan
- hardy to zone 5
- Special Note: This species has demonstrated an invasive tendency in Connecticut, meaning it may escape from cultivation and naturalize in minimally managed areas. For more information, .
Habit and Form
- a medium sized deciduous tree
- reaching 30′ to 40′ tall
- width is equal to, or greater than the height
- rounded shape
- branching is upright-spreading to irregular
- often sparingly branched
- alternate arranged leaves
- pinnately compound leaves with a few bipinnately compound leaflets
- leaflets are coarsely and irregularly incised or toothed
- leaves are 6″ to 15″ long
- leaflets are 1″ to 4″ long
- between 7 and 15 leaflets per leaf
- new leaf emerges with a wine or bronze cast
- mature foliage is bright or dark green
- yellow or golden with an orange cast
- inconsistent fall color
- often only a yellowish-green
- small flowers borne in large, loose upright clusters
- flower clusters are 12″ to 15″ long
- flowers are yellow with a red center
- bloom time is July
- can be showy
- large (2″ long) inflated papery capsules
- yellowish green in late summer
- changing to tan or brown in fall and persisting into winter
- interesting ornamental appeal
- color is a light gray-brown
- older branches and trunk with significant ridges and furrows
- moderate ornamental appeal
- full sun
- tolerant of drought, heat, wind
- tolerant of pollution
- prefers a soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH, but does well in slightly acidic soils as well
- best growth in moist, fertile soils
- lawn tree
- for smaller residences
- patio tree
- for urban sites
- useful for summer flowering
- twig kill in severe winters
- coral-spot fungus
- weak wooded
- sparsely branches medium-sized tree of rounded outline
- yellow flowers in mid-summer
- inflated fruits
- twigs brownish with conspicuous lenticels
- buds are prominent, looking like Hershey’s Kisses with a tuft of hair at the top
- by root cuttings
- by seed
‘Fastigiata’ – A rarely seen form, this plant is strictly upright — to 25′ tall with a spread of only 6′. It flowers very rarely and appears to be less cold hardy than the species.
‘September’ – This unusual form is offered by some specialty nurseries. It is notable for its later blooming period, often into August and September. One tradeoff is more limited hardiness, as the new growth does not appear to harden off well before the arrival of frost.