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Chinese Flame Tree

Koelreuteria bipinnata

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Chinese Flame Tree (Koelreuteria bipinnata) at Roger's Gardens

Chinese Flame Tree

Chinese Flame Tree

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Chinese Flame Tree (Koelreuteria bipinnata) at Roger's Gardens

Chinese Flame Tree fruit

Chinese Flame Tree fruit

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  30 feet

Spread:  35 feet

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  6b

Other Names:  Chinese Golden Rain Tree


An exceptional small ornamental tree with airy panicles of golden yellow flowers in late summer, followed by rose-pink lantern-shaped fruit that matures to brown; foliage presents beautiful yellow fall color; very adaptable but flowers best in full sun

Ornamental Features

Chinese Flame Tree features airy panicles of yellow flowers at the ends of the branches in late summer. It features abundant showy rose capsules from early to mid fall. It has emerald green deciduous foliage. The serrated bipinnately compound leaves turn an outstanding yellow in the fall. The rough silver bark adds an interesting dimension to the landscape.

Landscape Attributes

Chinese Flame Tree is a dense deciduous tree with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This tree will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Messy

Chinese Flame Tree is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Shade

Planting & Growing

Chinese Flame Tree will grow to be about 30 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 35 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 4 feet from the ground, and should not be planted underneath power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 60 years or more.

This tree should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn't be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This species is not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Accent  Shade 
Flowers  Fruit  Fall Color  Bark 
Ornamental Features