The leaves and flowers of a Chinese Varnish Tree

Chinese Varnish tree | Koelreuteria paniculata

In the autumn, the yellow flowers of this tree are followed by typical 'swollen' fruits that look a lot like lanterns.

This tree has many names: Chinese varnish tree, yellow soap tree, lantern tree, cooling window tree and blowing tree! It belongs to the soap tree family: a worldwide family of woody plants. You see the Chinese varnish tree mainly in parks and along streets. The tree is native to Asia, China and Korea. Did you know you can roast the seeds and then eat them?