One of the five official memorial trees from ancient times in China, the goldenrain tree was reserved for the tombs of scholars. The compound leaves are about a foot long with 7 to 15 leaflets each of which is itself more or less deeply lobed or serrated. The large foot-long clusters of yellow flowers, which can be used for making a yellow dye, give way at the end of the summer to conspicuous brown, papery pods resembling Chinese lanterns with internal pockets containing three hard, ¼-inch black fruits, each almost filled by one seed. The leaves turn yellow, brown, and red before falling. The tree is resistant to frost and is suitable for alkaline soils. A fine planting grows along the east side of Schwab Residential Center.
Name derivation: Koelreuteria – after J.G Koelreuter (1733–1806), German professor of botany; paniculata – with flowers in panicles.
About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. Family notes added by John Rawlings and SP.