|Styphnolobium japonicum foliage|
3 (in Species section)
Styphnolobium is a small genus of three or four species of small trees and shrubs in the subfamily Faboideae of the pea family Fabaceae, formerly included within a broader interpretation of the genus Sophora. 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 related genus Calia (mescalbeans) in having deciduous leaves and flowers in axillary, not terminal, racemes. The leaves are pinnate, with 9-21 leaflets, and the flowers in pendulous racemes similar to those of the Black locust.
- Styphnolobium affine (Torr. & A. Gray) Walp., the Coralbean or Eve's Necklace (syn. Sophora affinis) is native to the southern United States in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. It is a large shrub or small tree, growing to 5-7 m tall, with white or pale violet flowers.
- Styphnolobium japonicum (L.) Schott, the Pagoda Tree (Chinese Scholar, Japanese pagodatree; syn. Sophora japonica), is native to eastern Asia (mainly China; despite the name, it is introduced in Japan), is a popular ornamental tree in Europe, North America and South Africa, grown for its white flowers, borne in late summer after most other flowering trees have long finished flowering. It grows into a lofty tree 10-20 m tall with an equal spread, and produces a fine, dark brown timber.
- Styphnolobium monteviridis is native to Central America.
- The relationship of Sophora sect. Edwardsia (Fabaceae) to Sophora tomentosa, the type species of the genus Sophora, observed from DNA sequence data and morphological characters. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 146: 439-446 (2004). Available online.
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