Garden Talk

with Rebecca Jordi

Q: What is the name of the tree with the salmon colored seed pods? It is so pretty, I just love it.

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Golden Rain Tree

Golden Rain Tree

A:  While it is true that this tree is beautiful it is also considered a pest tree.  Golden rain tree, Koelreuteria elegans, is native of Taiwan and it has become a very popular landscape tree because of its colorful yellow petals and rose colored fruit capsules. Even though this tree is loved and valued by many, we cannot ignore the invasive characteristics which initiated its appointment as a Category II exotic invasive. Koelreuteria is a fast growing plant able to grow in an array of environmental conditions. Golden rain tree seeds are thought to be spread by birds and have the capability of germinating as quickly as 6-8 days.  It is a deciduous tree that grows 25 to 50 feet in height, with a 35 to 50 foot diameter spread. Introductions of Koelreuteria as an ornamental tree have made it possible for this tree to escape from cultivation and naturalize in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida. Because it is a fast grower and has greater seed viability in warmer climates, Golden rain tree has the ability to crowd out desired native species which means it can and does completely alter the local landscape. It is best for us to refrain from purchasing, propagating, or planting Golden rain tree due to its ability to escape into natural areas.

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