A mature specimen of Sophora japonica
A mature specimen of Sophora japonica
Flowers of the Sophora japonica
Medium Sophora japonica
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Sophora japonica

Japanese Pagoda Tree, Chinese Scholar, aka Styphnolobium japonicum

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Sophora japonica is a delightful and interesting specimen of deciduous tree that, despite its common name, is native to China, although is widely planted in Japan. 

It was introduced into the UK in 1753 and won the Award of Garden Merit in 2002.

The foliage of the Japanese Pagoda Tree is bright green, with compound leaves that have very small leaflets that give the tree a light and airy appearance. 

Once mature, the tree produces yellow-white, pea like flowers that hang in racemes, they are similar to False Acacia flowers, with just slightly smaller petals. 

In the autumn long grey seed pods are borne that are held on the tree throughout the winter.

Like a few trees native to China and Japan, this tree also has interesting bark, it is a dark green colour and exhibits small white flecks/lines up all the way up the stem.

At maturity Sophora japonica forms a rounded crown of medium size. It is a tree that particularly enjoys the sunshine and is thus best planted in south facing sites in the warmer part of Southern England.

In conjunction with enjoying a sunny and sheltered position, this tree will prefer to be planted in nutrient rich, well drained soil.

The Japanese Pagoda Tree is an intriguing specimen that is perfectly suited to gardens with a warm, sunny aspect. 

It has much Chinese folklore associated with it, with its Chinese name actually being composed of the words “wood” and “demon”, so its potentially not a tree for the light hearted!

Mature Height: 12-17m

Tree Specifications

Common names
Japanese Pagoda Tree, Chinese Scholar, aka Styphnolobium japonicum
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