Koelreuteria paniculata Laxm.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Koelreuteria paniculata' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/koelreuteria/koelreuteria-paniculata/). Accessed 2023-09-30.


Narrowing gradually to a point.
Sharply pointed.
Attached singly along the axis not in pairs or whorls.
Dry dehiscent fruit; formed from syncarpous ovary.
(of a plant or an animal) Found in a native state only within a defined region or country.
Egg-shaped; broadest towards the stem.
A much-branched inflorescence. paniculate Having the form of a panicle.
Odd-pinnate; (of a compound leaf) with a central rachis and an uneven number of leaflets due to the presence of a terminal leaflet. (Cf. paripinnate.)
(subsp.) Taxonomic rank for a group of organisms showing the principal characters of a species but with significant definable morphological differentiation. A subspecies occurs in populations that can occupy a distinct geographical range or habitat.
(syn.) (botanical) An alternative or former name for a taxon usually considered to be invalid (often given in brackets). Synonyms arise when a taxon has been described more than once (the prior name usually being the one accepted as correct) or if an article of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature has been contravened requiring the publishing of a new name. Developments in taxonomic thought may be reflected in an increasing list of synonyms as generic or specific concepts change over time.
(var.) Taxonomic rank (varietas) grouping variants of a species with relatively minor differentiation in a few characters but occurring as recognisable populations. Often loosely used for rare minor variants more usefully ranked as forms.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Koelreuteria paniculata' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/koelreuteria/koelreuteria-paniculata/). Accessed 2023-09-30.

A deciduous tree up to 30 to 60 ft high, with soft, pithy wood and rather gaunt habit when young, becoming more compact with age; young shoots minutely downy. Leaves alternate, pinnate, sometimes partially bipinnate; the nine to fifteen leaflets ovate, short-stalked or stalkless, coarsely and irregularly toothed, downy beneath. The whole leaf is from 6 to 18 in., or even more, in length, and the separate leaflets from 1 to 4 in. long, the larger ones often pinnately lobed at the base. Flowers in a large, terminal pyramidal panicle, sometimes over 12 in. long, made up of a series of elongated, slender racemes, carrying numerous short-stalked, yellow flowers, each about 12 in. wide; petals four; sepals ovate or ovate-oblong, acute; stamens eight, downy. Fruit a conical, inflated, three-valved capsule, 112 to 2 in. long; valves acute or acuminate. Seeds about the size of peas, dark brown.

Native of China; introduced to England in 1763, and said to have first been cultivated at Croome, in Worcestershire. It is quite hardy and very handsome, flowering in July and August. When seen at its best the tree is a mass of deep yellow flowers, and these are succeeded by the striking bladder-like fruits. It loves the sun, and I have never seen it quite so fine in this country as it is in central France. Its handsome leaves turn bright yellow in autumn. It likes a good loamy soil. The seeds afford the best means of propagation, and are sometimes set in this country. Failing them, root-cuttings may be used. The tree is probably not long-lived, and is rather subject to the attacks of coral-spot fungus.

There are several specimens at Kew, none of great age, 30 to 40 ft in height and 134 to 4 ft in girth. An example near the Pinetum, planted 1934, measures 40 × 234 ft. Others recorded are: Syon House, London, 45 × 3 ft (1967); Oxford Botanic Garden, 49 × 312 ft (1970); Hergest Croft, Heref., 40 × 312 ft (1961); Victoria Gardens, Bath, 30 × 5 ft (1962).

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

specimens: Kew, pl. 1914, 46 × 314 ft (1981), pl. 1934, 46 × 312 ft (1976), pl. 1932, 40 × 314 ft (1980); Chelsea Physic Garden, London, 36 × 8 ft (1984); Syon Park, London, 52 × 412 ft (1982); Battersea Park, London, 38 × 414 ft (1983); Savill Garden, Windsor Great Park, 30 × 234 ft (1976); Burford House, Surrey, 52 × 512 + 5 ft (1978); Battle Abbey, Hastings, Sussex, 33 × 434 ft (1978); Alexandra Park, Hastings, 50 × 412 ft (1980); Joyce Green Memorial Hospital, Dartford, Kent, 42 × 414 ft (1979); Oxford Botanic Garden, 46 × 334 ft (1981); University Botanic Garden, Cambridge, 33 × 3 ft (1982); Hergest Croft, Heref., 46 × 334 ft at 3 ft (1969).

[var. apiculata]. – This variety is not recognised by Meyer, its supposedly distinctive characters being part of the normal variation of the species. Older trees under this name derive from Wilson 3364, collected for Messrs Veitch in 1904. The tree at Kew planted in 1914 is one of the originals from this sending.

K. bipinnata – A synonym to be added is K. integrifolia Merrill. Seeds of K. bipinnata have been received from China under this name.

† K. elegans (Seem.) A. C. Smith – This species, in its typical state, is confined to the two main islands of Fiji, but the following subspecies occurs in east Asia:

subsp. formosana (Hayata) F.G. Meyer K. formosana Hayata; K. henryi Dummer. – An endemic of Formosa at low altitudes, allied to K. bipinnata. It was introduced to Kew in 1976 by means of seeds received from the Taiwan Forestry Institute, but is unlikely to be of any value for British gardens.


Of narrowly fastigiate habit. The original tree was raised at Kew from seeds sent by Miss Corner in 1888 from Shanghai, and still grows in the Sapindaceae collection near the Ruined Arch.K. bipinnata Franch. – This species, also from China, is not hardy here nor in Paris, although it has been tried several times. It differs from K. paniculata in its leaves being invariably doubly, sometimes trebly, pinnate, in its more regularly and less coarsely toothed leaflets, and the rounder, broader valves of the fruit. Some trees at Kew received under the name K. bipinnata have proved to be K. paniculata.

var. apiculata (Rehd. & Wils.) Rehd

This variety differs from the typical state of the species in having usually bipinnate leaves, broadly ovate or roundish sepals and the valves of the fruits rounded or obtuse at the apex, with a short, sharp point. It has a more westerly distribution than typical K. paniculata, to which it is linked by intermediate forms.This variety was introduced by Wilson from W. Szechwan in 1904. It first flowered at Kew in 1921 and has ripened seeds from which young plants have been raised. Wilson described it as a low tree with a spreading head and relatively thick trunk, inhabiting hot, dry river valleys. The specimen now at Kew measures 33 × 2{1/4} ft (1967). Others are: Savill Gardens, Windsor, 30 × 2{3/4} ft (1967); University Botanic Garden, Cambridge, 30 × 2 ft (1969).