Golden Rain Tree – Koelreuteria paniculata

Golden Rain Tree unripe seedpods
Golden Rain Tree unripe seedpods

…Trumpet-throats open to the beaks of birds.

The Golden Rain Tree drips its powders down.
In these little boudoirs streaked with orange and red
The anthers nod their heads, potent as kings
To father dynasties. The air is rich…

By Sylvia Plath

Read the entire poem here 

In China Luan is planted over the graves of scholars, and is used as a traditional medicine and dye stuff. Since its introduction to North America (specifically the eastern part and Florida) it has escaped cultivation and is considered an invasive species. It is very attractive for its beautiful yellow flowers and its bladder like seedpods. Since it flowers young, is tolerant of pollution, drought, and wind it is highly recommended as a street tree.

 

The yellow, four petal flowers were used for a yellow dye, while the leaves produces a black dye. The seeds are used as beads in jewelry making. The seeds can also be roasted and eaten, but this is not a common practice.

 

The flowers are used in traditional Chinese medicine. They are ophthalmic, and are used in the treatment of conjunctivitis and epiphora (an overflow of tears, not from crying)

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