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The (un)Natural and Cultural History of Korean Goldenrain Tree



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The un Natural and Cultural History of Korean Goldenrain Tree Michael S Dosmann Thomas H Whitlow and Kang Ho Duck T Tess a French aristocrat and fellow botany lover with whom he often traded plants It has since become a popular garden ornamental and is much appreciated for its tolerance of urban conditions Goldenrain tree s Chinese distribution lies in the eastern half of temperate China extending from Sichuan Province northeast to Liaoning Province where it is frequently found growing in dry streambeds and valleys About a dozen separate populations have been discovered on ALL PHOTOGRAPHS EXCEPT OTHERWISE INDICATED ARE BY THE AUTHORS he midsummer floral and autumnal fruit displays of goldenrain tree Koelreuteria paniculata have caught the eye of Western botanists and gardeners alike since 1747 when Pierre d Incarville a Jesuit priest introduced the species to Europe from northern China By 1763 this charming tree was being grown in the Jardin du Roi in Paris and in 1809 it made its rst known appearance in the United States when Thomas Jefferson received a shipment of seeds from Madame de Goldenrain trees in bloom above their namesake restaurant Mogamchoonamu in Balsan 1 Ri a shing village near Pohang on the eastern coast of the Korean peninsula Koelreuteria 17 the Korean peninsula as well as in Honshu Japan Several theories about the origin of these populations have been proposed The close proximity of most populations to the Yellow Sea suggests a likely route for Chinese propagules dispersed by water man or some combination of the two In his 1976 monograph of the genus Frederick Meyer of the U S National Arboretum states convincingly that the species appearance outside of China was due solely to man 1 The species was not encountered during Japanese botanist Takenoshin Nakai s thorough survey of the Korean peninsula 1915 1936 2 However we cannot assume they were not Red dots mark the five Koelreuteria paniculata populations the authors present at the time as the



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