Styphnolobium japonicum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Styphnolobium japonicum
Styphnolobium japonicum tree
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Styphnolobium
S. japonicum
Binomial name
Styphnolobium japonicum

Styphnolobium japonicum, the Japanese pagoda tree[3] (also known as the Chinese scholar tree and pagoda tree; syn. Sophora japonica) is a species of tree in the subfamily Faboideae of the pea family Fabaceae.

It was 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. It also differs from the related genus Calia (mescalbeans) in having deciduous leaves and flowers in axillary, not terminal, racemes. The leaves are alternate, pinnate, with nine to 21 leaflets, and the flowers in pendulous racemes similar to those of the black locust.


foliage and inflorescence
close-up of flowers

Styphnolobium japonicum is native to China; despite the name, it was introduced in Japan. It 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 to 10–20 m tall with an equal spread, and produces a fine, dark brown timber.[citation needed]


Historical events[edit]

The Guilty Chinese Scholartree was a historic pagoda tree in Beijing, from which the last emperor of the Ming dynasty, Chongzhen, hanged himself.[citation needed]

Traditional medicine[edit]

the beans

S. japonicum (Chinese: ; pinyin: huái; formerly Sophora japonica) is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine. Its fruits have stress resistance and antioxidant properties.[4]


The flowers and leaves are sometimes used for teas, such as by families in Laoshan Village, Shandong Province, China. It counts as a variety of herbal tea.[citation needed]

Construction uses[edit]

The wood is used to make the strong, springy curved "enju wood" handle used on the traditional Japanese woodworking adze, called the chouna.[5][6] Pagoda wood is very hard after drying. This makes pagoda products durable and long lasting. The pagoda tree trunk is generally composed of alternating ridges of light-brown outside layers and gray brown inside layers. This makes wood carving products, for example from the Hokkaido native Ainu people, very decorative. The Ainu are famous for their "Blackstone fish owl" carvings.


The dried flower buds may contain as much as 20% rutin with some quercetin.[7] S. japonicum dried fruit contains the flavonoid glycosides sophoricoside, genistin and rutin and the flavonoid aglycones genistein, quercetin and kaempferol.[8] Another analysis found genistein and genistein glycosides including sophorabioside, sophoricoside, genistein-7-diglucoside, genistein-7-diglucorhamnoside, and kaempferol and the kaempferol glycosides kaempferol-3-sophoroside and kaempferol-3-rhamnodiglucoside.[7] The fruit also contain the alkaloids cytisine, N-methylcytisine, sophocarpine, matrine and stizolamine.[9]



  1. ^ "Styphnolobium japonicum". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d "Styphnolobium japonicum – ILDIS LegumeWeb". Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  3. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Styphnolobium japonicum". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  4. ^ Thabit, Sara; Handoussa, Heba; Roxo, Mariana; Cestari de Azevedo, Bruna; S.E. El Sayed, Nesrine; Wink, Michael (19 July 2019). "Styphnolobium japonicum (L.) Schott Fruits Increase Stress Resistance and Exert Antioxidant Properties in Caenorhabditis elegans and Mouse Models". Molecules. 24 (14): 2633. doi:10.3390/molecules24142633. ISSN 1420-3049. PMC 6680879. PMID 31331055.
  5. ^ "Japanese axes and adzes". Robin Wood. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  6. ^ "Beautiful axes, Japanese carpentry tools".
  7. ^ a b Tang, Weici; Eisenbrand, Gerhard (1992). "Sophora japonica L". Chinese Drugs of Plant Origin. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer. pp. 945–955. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-73739-8_114. ISBN 978-3-642-73741-1.
  8. ^ Chang, L.; Zhang, X.X.; Ren, Y.P.; Cao, L.; Zhi, X.R.; Zhang, L.T. (2013). "Simultaneous Quantification of Six Major Flavonoids From Fructus sophorae by LC-ESI-MS/MS and Statistical Analysis". Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 75 (3): 330–338. doi:10.4103/0250-474X.117437. PMC 3783751. PMID 24082349.
  9. ^ Bensky, Dan; Clavey, Steven; Stöger, Erich; Lai Bensky, Lilian (2015). Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica (Portable 3rd ed.). Seattle, USA: Eastland Press. pp. 575–578. ISBN 978-0-939616-82-4.

General references[edit]

  • Heenan, P. B., M. I. Dawson, S. J. Wagstaff (December 2004). "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(4): 439–446. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2004.00348.x.

External links[edit]