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Goldenrain tree

Koelreuteria paniculata

While serving as Minister to France from 1784 to 1789, Jefferson began a warm friendship with Madame de Tessé, the aunt of the Marquis de Lafayette, and maintained an active correspondence with her until her death in 1814. As he did with many of his acquaintances at home and abroad, he encouraged her to send plants and seeds for cultivation at Monticello and elsewhere in the United States. On June 12, 1809, Jefferson received from her "seeds of the Paullinia or Koelreuteria," and two years later was able to report that a tree had grown from that shipment. "I cherish it with particular attentions," he wrote, "as it daily reminds me of the friendship with which you have honored me." Through this exchange, it is believed that Jefferson introduced Koelreuteria paniculata to Albemarle County, VA, and it is likely he was also the first to introduce it into the United States.

The Goldenrain Tree shows striking golden-yellow blooms for several weeks in early summer. These are followed by an nearly equal ornamental growth of lantern-like seed pods (shown at lower left) that range in color from green to yellow to brown.

Growth Type: 
Deciduous Tree
Hardiness Zones: 
Zone 9, Zone 8, Zone 7, Zone 6
Location at Monticello: 
Vegetable Garden and near the South Dependencies
Planting Conditions: 
Full Sun
Blooming History: 
2001 Jun 25 to 2001 Jul 122002 Jun 12 to 2002 Jul 52004 Jun 8 to 2004 Jul 122005 Jun 10 to 2005 Jul 132006 Jun 13 to 2006 Jul 112007 Jun 14 to 2007 Jul 62008 Jun 18 to 2008 Jul 42009 Jun 11 to 2009 Jul 42010 Jun 9 to 2010 Jun 282011 Jun 7 to 2011 Jun 282012 May 24 to 2012 Jun 282013 Jun 10 to 2013 Jul 162014 Jun 11 to 2014 Jul 10
Visit Monticello’s Online Shop to check for seeds or plants of Goldenrain tree.


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