Botanical Name: Styphnolobium japonicum
Common Name: Japanese Pagodatree
Origin: Western China
Location: CNW, CSE, CSW
Notable Feature: Noted for its late summer creamy white blossoms that appear to drip from the tree; later they form a dense, white carpet on the ground. The Pagodatree’s common name originated from the fact that it was often planted in and around Buddhist temples.
Habit: A deciduous tree, upright and spreading, 40 to 70 feet tall with a comparable spread. Usually branches low when growing in the open but capable of forming a tall, clean trunk.
Flower: The perfect (bisexual), creamy white flowers are about 1” long and held in showy clusters (6 to 12” wide) at the ends of branches. Heavy bloom occurs in July/August and “covers the foliage like a lacy veil” – Plantsman Michael Dirr.
Fruit: A pod. Bright green maturing to a tannish brown, 3 to 8” long with constrictions between each seed, 3- to 6-seeded. Ripens in October.
Foliage: The leaves are pinnate (divided like a feather) and composed of 7 to17 ovate to oval leaflets. They are a bright to medium green and lustrous above and paler beneath.
Bark: Pale greyish brown and corrugated.
Interesting Fact: In Asia, the Pagodatree is grown as an ornamental and for its durable timber, which is used for furniture and construction. The leaves and flowers are edible but the seedpods are toxic. Yellow and grey dyes extracted from the pods have been used in the silk and batik industries. Begins to flower around 10 to 14 years of age.