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Koelreuteria paniculata
Koelreuteria paniculata

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Zones vary by species.
Full Sun
Regular Water


Deciduous, Trees

Small trees native to eastern Asia noted for large, loose clusters of yellow flowers followed by fat, papery fruit capsules resembling little Japanese lanterns. Capsules are used in both fresh and dried arrangements. Good patio, lawn, or street trees. Very adaptable to different soils as long as drainage is fairly good. Control self-sown seedlings.

Koelreuteria bipinnata

To 20–40 ft. tall and wide, eventually flat topped. Leaves 1–2 ft. long, divided into 7–12 oval leaflets; turn yellow for short time before dropping. Late-summer flower clusters are like those of K. paniculata, but 2-in. capsules are more colorful, in shades of orange, red, or salmon. Capsules come quickly after flowers and persist into fall. Prune tree to develop high branching. Wood is brittle and may break under a heavy load of snow. Roots are deep but not invasive; good tree to plant under.

Koelreuteria paniculata
Koelreuteria paniculata

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Koelreuteria paniculata

To 20–35 ft. tall, 25–40 ft. wide. Open branching, giving slight shade. Leaves to 15 in. long with 7–15 oval, toothed or lobed leaflets, each 1–3 in. long. New leaves are purplish, maturing to bright green in summer; may turn yellow to gold in fall, but fall foliage color is unreliable. Very showy, 8–14-in.-long flower clusters in early to midsummer. Fruit capsules are red when young, maturing to buff and brown shades; last well into autumn. Tree takes cold, heat, drought, wind. Prune to shape; can be gawky without pruning.

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