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Varnish Tree

Koelreuteria paniculata (Familie Seifenbaumgewächse, Sapindaceae)

Distribution: North and Central China. In our country as an ornamental tree in parks, gardens and as roadside greenery.

Appearance: Small, 10-15 m tall tree; long-stalked, up to 35 cm leaflets with 7-15 sub-leaves, coarsely notched at the margin. Flowers appear only in midsummer in large, erect inflorescences consisting of many small yellow single flowers. The bladder-like (name!), pointed ovoid, 3-5 cm long capsules with a parchment-like pericarp are conspicuous.

In Germany, the bladder ash has been in cultivation since 1796. It is an attractive small ornamental tree mainly because of its abundant flowers and unusual fruits, but also because of its yellow, bronze or scarlet autumn colors. To develop its full splendor, the Koelreuterie needs a full-sun location. It does well with dry sites. For this reason, it has recently been planted more often as a street tree in inner-city areas, where the air is often extremely hot and dry in summer.

Blasenesche Blütenstände (gelb)

Infloresecence (Photo: G. Aas)

Blasenesche in Herbstfarben (rot-bräunlich)

Also attractive in autumn due to the special fruits and the beautiful coloring of the leaves (Photo: G. Aas)

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