Styphnolobium japonicum
Common name: 
Japanese Pagodatree
styf-noh-LOH-bee-um juh-PON-ih-kum
Sophora japonica
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Broadleaf deciduous tree, 35-50 ft (12-15 m), wide as it is tall.  Stems 1 through 4 years old are green (or green-brown).  Leaves alternate, pinnately compound, 15-30 long, 7-17 leaflets, leaflets entire, ovate-lance-ovate, 2.5-5 cm long, green and lustrous above and glaucous beneath; the petiole (rachis) is swollen at the base and encloses the bud.  Flowers pea-like, 1-1.5 cm long, ivory white, in large clusters, 15-30 cm long, appear in July-August (if it flowers).  Fruit a pod, 8-15 cm long, bright green, glabrous (without hairs), changing finally to yellow-brown, 1-6 seeded, often constricted between seeds.
  • Sun and partial shade.  Best in loamy well-drained soil. Once established withstands heat and drought well.   Tolerant of polluted conditions.  Fast growing in some areas.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 4      Native to China and Korea, but not Japan
  • Invasive: This species has been identified as a potential or emerging threat to natural areas in the mid-Atlantic region.
  • Name Change: Styphnolobium japonicum is now generally accepted as the correct botanical name for the Japanese Pagodatree, however in commerce, the older name (Sophora japonica) is often used.  The nomenclature change is based on chromosome numbers as well as morphological and cytological differences (F.S. Santamour, Jr. and L.G.H. Riedel. 1997. J. Arboriculture 23(4):166-167).
  • Corvallis: Cloverland Park, large tree near the corner of Garfield Ave. and 29th St.
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: large tree west of Bexell Hall.
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, two trees at start of flowering

    plant habit, two trees at start of flowering

  • plant habit, flowering

    plant habit, flowering

  • flower clusters and leaves

    flower clusters and leaves

  • flower cluster

    flower cluster

  • flowers


  • leaf


  • leaves and fruit

    leaves and fruit

  • leaves and fruit

    leaves and fruit

  • plant habit, fall

    plant habit, fall

  • leaves, fall

    leaves, fall

  • plant habit, winter

    plant habit, winter

  • fruit, winter

    fruit, winter

  • trunk, bark

    trunk, bark

  • winter twigs and buds

    winter twigs and buds