Sapindaceae (soapberry family) Koelreuteria

Koelreuteria bipinnata Chinese flame tree

Koelreuteria bipinnata
Salmon colored fruit capsules of Koelreuteria bipinnata on Jane Stanford Way. Sairus Patel, 27 Sep 2022
Koelreuteria bipinnata
Koelreuteria bipinnata at Rains with pale yellow flowers at the end of summer. Sairus Patel, 31 Aug 2017

Chinese lantern fruit capsules in late summer are more colorful than those of K. paniculata, goldenrain tree. See a handsome pair on Jane Stanford Way at the crosswalk southeast of the Knight Management Center. Half a dozen grow around the lawn and sand volleyball court of Willis Court at Rains Houses, but they have not been thriving. The two K. paniculata placed among them provide an opportunity to compare the species: K. bipinnata, of course, are the ones with bipinnate leaves, though other differences in leaflet size, shape, and margins may be observed.

Other campus genera in the soapberry family are Alectryon, Cupaniopsis, and Dodonaea. Recent phylogenetic analyses place Acer and Aesculus in this family as well.

Koelreuteria bipinnata fruit
Flowers and papery fruit capsules of Koelreuteria bipinnata at Rains. Sairus Patel, 3 Sep 2017

Name derivation: Koelreuteria – after J.G Koelreuter (1733–1806), German professor of botany; bipinnata – bipinnate (the leaves).

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005, with additional notes by John Rawlings. Sairus Patel added the K. paniculata locations at Rains and the phylogenetic note on the family Aug 2017; all locations up to date. Jane Stanford Way location added (SP, Sep 2022).