WOODY – GOLDENRAIN TREE (Koelreuteria paniculata). There are not many trees with such spectacular flowers as goldenrain tree this time of year. Goldenrain trees have a storied history in American filmdom: think Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift, Lee Marvin, Eva Marie Saint, the Civil War, and the mysterious tree discoverable only via a trek to the Indiana swamps of the movie “Raintree County” (Trekkie alert: DeForrest Kelley plays a minor role in the movie).
Goldenrain tree is a small to medium tree, growing to 25 – 30′, with a rounded crown. It has compound leaves and an attractive canopy, but the real feature is the upright panicles of golden flowers that cover the tree for several weeks in early to midsummer. The light green papery, bladder-like fruits that follow are interesting at first, and as they change to orange or pink, but then are less attractive later in the season as they turn brown. In southern states such as Florida seed production and germination is high and this Asian native tree has become an issue with invasiveness there. Here, Goldenrain trees provide a spectacular summer-flowering addition to the landscape. It is highly adaptable to various soil types. Goldenrain tree grows best in full-sun.