The 2011 tree of the year was chosen by the Society Of Municipal Arborist (SMA). The goldenraintree was selected because of ability to be adaptable in harsh climates and very pleasing to the eye with its strong ornamental traits. The goldenraintree or Koelreuteria paniculata and is commonly called by Goldenraintree, Goldenrain tree, Panicled Goldenraintree, Pride of India, Varnish-Tree, Or China tree. It was named for Joseph Gottlieb Koelruter an 18th century botanist. According to rumored legend it was brought over by Thomas Jefferson, after obtaining seeds from a friend in France. At Monticello seeds are available from its descendant.
The Goldenraintree is often grown throughout the world as an ornamental tree in temperate conditions. Its beauty differs with the many varieties but mainly flowers, leaves, and seed pods that change colors as the growing season ends.Because of its fast growth it is a welcome beauty to parks and home owners. Bringing welcome shade and beauty to its environment. Its flowers can be very showy with large clusters or terminal panicles 12 to 15 inches long, yellow with a red center and four petals. Blooming is in July and the falling of petals in the blowing wind resemble ‘golden rain’
On a negative note the tree can prove to become evasive and can easily escape cultivation and become naturalized in minimally managed areas. it can have the ability to crowd out native plants. Tree can suffer from twig kill in severe winters and suffer damage in stormy weather being a bit weak wooded.