Koelreuteria bipinnata
Chinese flame tree

Sapindaceae (soapberry family)
China
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. 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, probably not by intent, 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.

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

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

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

About this Entry: John Rawlings wrote the main text of this entry (early 2000s). K. paniculata locations at Rains, phylogenetic note on family added Aug 2017 (SP).