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Sophora japonica

Sophora japonica (Japanese pagoda tree or Chinese scholars' tree)

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Sophora japonica (Japanese pagoda tree or Chinese scholars' tree)

Sophora Japonica, or more correctly but challengingly Styphnolobium japonicum (OMG), is a large spreading tree, originally from China but introduced to Japan long ago. It reached Europe in the 18th century. The "Japanese pagoda tree" was brought to the UK by James Gordon in 1753 and you can still see one of the trees planted at Kew in 1760. Its durable wood was originally used for buildings; in China its flowerbuds are used in traditional medicine and in Japan it is still a popular bonsai tree.

Sophora japonica is a lovely specimen tree, with attractive pea shaped white flowers in late summer and feathery foliage, although trees have to be around 30 years old before they flower. Perhaps this is why they remain so rare here. RHS AGM.

Really helpful for bees as it flowers late in the summer, like Eucryphia, and recommended by The British Beekeepers' Association. Trees can grow to 30m and spread to around 20m.

Size: 5 litre pot (around 100cm tall)
Flowers: September
Soil type: Light, well drained soils
Supplier : R.V.Roger

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  • Ultimate Height


  • Ultimate Spread


  • Time to Ultimate Height

    Up to 50 years


  • Type

    Clay, loam, sand, chalk

  • pH

    Neutral, acid, alkaline


  • Position

    Sheltered or exposed

  • Sunlight

    Full sun