Formosan Flame Tree

4. Formosan Flame 

(Koelreuteria elegans subsp. formosana)

Location: 8th and L Street. NW corner
Nominator: Neil J. Rubenking
Photo Credit: Neil Rubenking, Circa 2005

The attractive yellow flowers appear in late summer and are followed by lipstick pink capsules that adorn the crown.

One of the most stunning trees in Davis when in flower and fruit is the Formosan Flame tree. With such a distraction at the northeast corner of 8th and L St. every fall, it’s amazing that there aren’t more accidents.

The spectacular display lasts until December, when the lush foliage falls. This specimen was nominated by Neil Rubenking because of its colossal size. It is at least 30-years old, and is 65-feet tall and wide, with a girth of nearly 11 feet. It’s larger than the largest Flame Tree in the California Big Tree Registry. Rubenking has a smaller tree that came from seedlings that Don Shor collected from this tree and grew at Redwood Barn Nursery. Warren Roberts, superintendent of the UC Davis Arboretum, has long been a proponent of the Formosan Flame. Many have been planted on campus, but in the fall this one will take your breath away.

Category: Unusual Species
Age: 30+
Height: 63 ft
Spread:66 ft
Girth: 10.8 ft

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