Koelreuteria elegans

Golden rain tree

Nonnative to FloridaFISC Category 2

Species Overview

Native to: Taiwan

Introduced in early to mid-1900s through horticulture. Golden rain tree or flamegold is a very popular landscape tree because of its colorful petals and rose colored fruit capsules. Even though this tree is loved and valued by many, we cannot ignore the invasive characteristics that initiated its appointment as a Category II invasive plant by the Florida Invasive Species Council. It is a fast growing plant that is able to grow in an array of environmental conditions.

Species Characteristics

Family: Sapindaceae

Habit: deciduous tree that grows 25 to 50 feet in height, with a 35 to 50 foot diameter spread.

Leaves: bipinnately compound, ovate to oblong in shape, and arranged alternately on the stem.

Flowers: yellow, 12 to 20 inches long, 8 to 10 inches wide, and densely pubescent.

Fruit: oval but elongate in shape, varies in length from 1 to 3 inches, and is pink in color, can also be described as being an inflated papery capsule.

Seeds: small and black.

Distribution in Florida: Central and South Florida and into North Central Florida


Has escaped cultivation and established in in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida. Because it is a fast grower and has greater seed viability in warmer climates, Koelreuteria has the ability to crowd out desired native species.

Control Methods

Preventive Measures

Do not plant.


Hand pull seedlings.


Larger trees may be cut, should be coupled with chemical treatment to avoid resprouting. Small seedlings may be mowed or pulled by hand.


There are no known biological control agents.


Cut stump: 50% glyphosate product or 50–100% Garlon 3A. Basal bark: 25% Garlon 4. Foliar: 2–3% glyphosate product, 2% Garlon 3A. Reach out to your local UF IFAS Extension for further assistance with management recommendations. Additional management recommendations can be found in the EDIS Publication Integrated Management of Non-Native Plants in Natural Areas of Florida.

Learn more about this species

UF IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas

Atlas of Florida Plants


USDA Plant Database

Invasive Species Compendium

View records and images from University of Florida Herbarium