Japanese pagoda tree

Category: Medicines - plant based



Introduction and description

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Styphnolobium is a small genus of three or four species of small trees and shrubs in the subfamily Faboideae of the pea family Fabaceae.

The Pagoda Tree is widely used in bonsai gardening, but it has a very important place in Traditional Chinese medicine.   S. japonicum (Chinese: 槐; pinyin: huái; formerly Sophora japonica) is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine.



Styphnolobium was formerly included within a broader interpretation of the genus Sophora, but was recently assigned to the unranked, monophyletic Cladrastis clade.


The species of Styphnolobium differ from Sophora in lacking the ability to form symbioses with rhizobia (nitrogen fixing bacteria) on their roots. They also differ from the genus Calia (mescal beans) in having deciduous leaves and flowers in axillary, not terminal, racemes.

The Guilty Chinese Scholartree was a historic Pagoda Tree in Beijing, on which the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Chongzhen, hanged himself.



The leaves are pinnate, with 9–21 leaflets, and the flowers in pendulous racemes similar to those of the Black locust.



Related observations