Varnish Tree, Koelreuteria paniculata

family Sapindaceae (Lichee, Longan, Varnish Tree, Xanthoceras)

Etymology: it is called "Varnish Tree", such as the lacquer tree, yielding substances used to make varnish or lacquer.
Origin: Caribbean islands, China, Japan, Korea; discovered by Incarville in 1750, introduced into France in 1789 in the arboretum Louis-de-Vilmorin, in Verrières-le-Buisson, in the South of Paris.
Habitat: it supports pollution and prefers sunny situations to flourish well. It tolerates drought.
Height: 12-15 m tall. Quick growth.
Shape: in dome to spread.
Bark: brown, cracked in long and in zigzag.
Deciduous leaves: imparipinnate (sometimes bipinnates), 20 to 40 cm long, leaflets (9 - 15) very serrated and characteristic.
Yellow, small flowers, grouped in huge 35 cm panicles, in July.
Fruits in capsules bladder-likes puffed out, brown, which stay on the tree in winter.
Tradition: in China, tree adorning the tombs of the mandarins.
Uses: the bark and the fruit contain the saponin which is used to make the natural soap in Asia. With the round and black seeds, rosaries are made.  

Koelreuteria integrifolia

It is native to China and attains a size somewhat bigger than K. paniculata.


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