Phelps Street’s avenue of mature Golden Rain Trees (Koelreuteria paniculata) is an outstanding single species road-side plantation. Recent questioning of the correct identification of these species resulted in samples being sent to the RBG for authentication. The more mature specimens on the street were identified as Koelreuteria elegans subsp. formosana. (probably believed to be K. bipinnata by the supplying nursery). However the young and semi-mature trees in these streets are Koelreuteria paniculata. There are 10 trees to the western side of Bourke Street, and 28 to the east.
It is a fine example of the use of this genera as an avenue tree in the City of Sydney LGA. The trees are located in the public verge and tree pits in asphalt pavement adjacent to the kerb. Their canopies extend over the roadway, footpath and terraces. Root zones are generally contained within the footpath and the roadway. The trees measure approximately, height 8-14 metres, canopy spread 8-15 metres and trunk diameter up to 0.3-0.45 metres at one metre above the ground. Most of these trees appear to be in generally fair to good health and condition with varying levels of past pruning and alignment to canopies. Trees on the northern side have been pruned to accommodate overhead power-lines.
This avenue of mature Golden Rain Trees (Koelreuteria paniculata) and Chinese Rain Tree (Koelreuteria elegans subsp. formosana) presents an outstanding urban streetscape. It is the finest example of the use of this species as an avenue tree in the City of Sydney LGA. The avenue is considered to have significance at the local level in terms of its combination of visual and social values. Koelreuteria elegans subsp. formosana however is noted as having environmental weed potential.
Although the age structure is relatively young, having been planted c. 1970, the group creates a consistent and coherent landscape quality.