February 8, 2023
Japanese Pagoda Tree

Styphnolobium japonicum or Japanese Pagoda Tree

Styphnolobium japonicum or Japanse Pagoda Tree was formerly known as Sophora japonica. It is a member of the Fabaceae family of plants. It is native to China though the Latin name refers to Japan. Styphnolobium japonicum is a large deciduous tree. It grows to about 12m or 38ft.

How to grow Styphnolobium japonicum:

Plant Styphnolobium japonicum in full sun. Plant it in moderately fertile soil. Mature trees flower in late summer and autumn. The flowers are off-white and fragrant. They are similar to pea flowers. The flowers grow on pinnacles. It is an easy tree to maintain. It is usually disease-free and pest-free. Styphnolobium japonicum tolerates pollution. It is drought-tolerant as well. Propagate by seed or grafting in early spring.

Styphnolobium japonicum, japanese pagoda tree
Styphnolobium japonicum or Japanese Pagoda Tree at Kew Gardens

Styphnolobium japonicum in Chinese history:

Styphnolobium japonicum or huái (槐), huái shù (槐树), or huái huā (槐花) is used in Chinese traditional medicine. It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs. It is believed that Styphnolobium japonicum regulates and cools the blood. They use it for the treatment of hypertension, red eyes, conjunctivitis, dizziness, hematemesis, bloody dysentery, etc.

They use the flowers and leaves as an herbal tea, in China. This is the type of tree that Emperor Chongzhen, hanged himself, after his defeat. He was the last emperor of the Ming dynasty (1386-1644). The Ming dynasty is the last imperial dynasty of China. On April 25 he walked to Meishan which is currently called Jingshan Park there he was found under a Styphnolobium japonicum tree.

Japanese Pagoda Tree
Styphnolobium japonicum or Japanese Pagoda Tree

This tree is used for its wood, especially in Japan. It is a very strong wood. Many Japanese wood carvings were carved using its wood. Especially famous, are carvings made of Blackstone Fish Owl. This is a large species of owl. Ainu people of Hokkaido co-existed in their natural habitat and the fish owl was revered as a Kotan Koru Kamui, the god that protected their village.

Japanese Pagoda Tree, Styphnolobium japonicum
Styphnolobium japonicum or Japanese Pagoda Tree

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