Photo courtesy UC Davis Arboretum

Community favorite: Formosan flame tree

Published: Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 12CALIFORNIA LIFE
Last Modified: Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 - 8:52 pm

This is one in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Community Favorites, 75 can't-fail, easy-care plants well-adapted to our region and recommended by local gardeners.

Formosan flame tree

Koelreuteria elegans subsp. formosana

Size: 20 to 40 feet tall

Bloom season: Late summer, fall

Exposure: Full sun

Pruning needs: Little or none; prune to shape in winter

Water needs: Once established, water deeply once or twice a month

Snapshot: This Asian shade tree adds a tropical note to drought- tolerant gardens, along with lots of fall color. In early autumn, it boasts broad clusters of bright yellow flowers, followed by large coral-red seedpods that look like lipstick-colored ping-pong balls. Besides offering its unusual beauty, this flame tree is adaptable to various soils and watering schedules. You can see specimens in the arboretum's East Asian Collection on the UC Davis campus.

it's a favorite: "This gorgeous tropical-looking tree celebrates late summer and fall first as a cloud of yellow flowers, and then as a party with thousands of red balloons," said Warren Roberts, the arboretum's superintendent emeritus.

• Read more about the Arboretum's 75th anniversary at http://arboretum75th. For more on the Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars, click on

See a photo gallery of the Community Favorites online at

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