Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

Hardy Plants for Waterwise Landscapes

Koelreuteria paniculata
Goldenrain tree

Koelreuteria paniculata (Ray Malieke)

Plant form

Rounded, deciduous shade tree with summer flowers. Typically, the tree has a single trunk from which spreading, twisting branches arise. 


30 to 40 feet tall and wide.

Leaves and stems

Medium to dark green compound leaves.  They are reddish when they emerge in the spring.  Fall color may be unimpressive or yellow-orange fall color. The twisting branches are often quite picturesque on mature trees and the light gray bark adds winter interest.


In midsummer, large stalks with many small yellow flowers cover the tree.


Flowering stalks become covered with papery pods that resemble little paper lanterns.  They are green, turning tannish-pink and fading to brown.  Most remain on the tree through winter.  Some people think they provide winter interest, others think the trees look messy in winter.

Native area

China, Japan, and Korea.

Water use



Full sun or light shade.

Culture and maintenance

This tree is tolerant of a wide range of conditions.


USDA Zone 5-9.


Branches on young trees may be damaged during cold winters, but older trees don't show this problem.


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