Last month, when I wrote the post a little focus, which featured a yellow-flowered tree in the park, I didn’t know what type of tree it was. I tried searching on Google, but had no luck.
Now, the tree is a mass of three-sided “bladdery” green fruits, tangled and jostling each other like Chinese lanterns in the breeze, and I’ve been able to discover that it’s actually a Koelreuteria paniculata – a Pride of India or Golden Rain tree.
I was surprised how such a thin, papery seedpod filled with air could be so sturdy, so I brought one of them home and opened it up to take a closer look.
The pod I picked was just beginning to blush around the stalk; on the inside of the central vein of each of the three panels that make up the “lantern” was a strut like the wing of a sycamore seed, each with space to support two seeds – a maximum of six seeds per pod.
In the pod I’d chosen there were only three seeds, which were a bright yellowy green, the colour – and size – of young peas.
I am amazed that I had never noticed the tree before, but I will be looking out now as I walk through the park as I’m guessing that in a month or so the tree will be covered in russet-red lanterns, which will warrant some more photos, no doubt, and perhaps another blog post.