Styphnolobium japonicum or Japanse Pagoda Tree was formerly known as Sophora japonica 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.
Plant Styphnolobium japonicum in full sun 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 and appear on pinnacles. It is an easy tree to maintain usually disease-free and pest-free. Styphnolobium japonicum tolerated pollution and it is drought-tolerant as well. Propagate by seed or grafting in early spring.
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 and is used for the treatment of hypertension, red eyes, conjunctivitis, dizziness, hematemesis, bloody dysentery, etc. Also, the flowers and leaves are used as an herbal tea in China. It is told that this is the type of tree that Emperor Chongzhen, the last emperor of the Ming dynasty (1386-1644), which is the last imperial dynasty of China ruled by Han Chinese hanged himself from, after his defeat, on April 25 he walked to Meishan which is currently called Jingshan Park there he was found under the tree.
This tree is also used for its wood especially in Japan as it is a very strong wood. Many Japanese wood carvings were done in this tree’s wood, especially famous are carvings made of Blackstone Fish Owl, this large species of owl and 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.