Golden Rain Tree identification

The Golden Rain Tree Koelreuteria paniculata, also known as the Pride of India is native to China, Korea and Japan and was introduced to Britain in 1763. This tree is one of 3 species in the genus Koelreuteria which is named after a German botanist.

Golden Rain Tree identification – large pinnate leaves, small yellow flowers in summer, long, lantern-shaped fruit pods that hang on the tree all winter. It is not common but is found in some collections and can easily be recognised by its distinctive fruit.

Tree with yellow flowers in August

The pinnate leaves are very long, up to 45cm. They have 11 to 13 lobed leaflets. The leaf shape is unique to the Golden Rain Tree.

The small yellow flowers are arranged on large, branched stalks called panicles. They cover the tree in mid-summer. Photo taken in late July.

Close-up of a flower, showing the 4 yellow petals. Flowers may have male and female parts or may be single sex. In this flower the single female style is surrounded by 8 small anthers.

The fruit is in the form of pink bladders, that look like small lanterns. Photo taken in mid September.

Fruit capsule splitting open in November to release the seeds

Fruit in February

The bark has vertical orange cracks

There is no terminal bud. Lateral buds point upwards above black-lined, shield-like leaf scars.

The lateral buds stick out, are conical and have a sharp point.

Close-up of a bud and leaf scar.

Tree in December