Name: Koelreuteria paniculata – aka the golden rain tree
Type of Plant: A fairly fast growing shade tree, hardy in zone 6-9, that’s known for nice round shape, delicate yellow flowers in the summer and ornamental pods from late-summer through the fall.
Why I love this: This is a medium sized tree – it grows to about 25 feet high and wide over time. It’s fairly drought tolerant and it flowers at a time of year when most trees aren’t in bloom. But best of all are the lantern-like pods that start to form even as the plant is flowering. They are both attractive and fun. This is a nice tree for near houses, patios and as a vertical element in a garden.
A Word to the Wise: Don’t confuse this tree with the golden chain tree – which isn’t, in my plant geek’s opinion, not as nice a plant. Here’s how you remember it: rain is good, chains, not so good.