Authors as Published

Alex X. Niemiera, Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture

(Sophora japonica; new name is Styphnolobium japonicum)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 75 feet

Spread: 75 feet

Shape: Oval to round, spreading

Japanese pagodatree is a medium/large shade tree with showy flowers in summer. Green seed pods, somewhat ornamental, hang on tree until late in the fall. Flower petals can be messy if tree is used near a house, road, or pathway.

Plant Needs:

Zone: 4 to 8

Light: Partial shade to full sun

Moisture: Moist or dry

Soil Type: Sandy, loam, or clay

pH Range: 4.5 to 8.0


Suggested uses for this plant include shade and street tree.

Planting Notes:

Plant in location where tree will have ample room to spread.

Withstands city conditions.


Prune in the fall.

Tree litter can be a nuisance in high-traffic areas.


Twig blight is a minor problem.

Leaf hopper is another minor problem which kills young stems and can cause dense clusters of growth on branches called "witches brooms".

Tree litter is produced by falling petals, leaves and seed pods.


Consult local garden centers, historic or public gardens and arboreta regarding cultivars and related species that grow well in your area.

Cultivars of Sophora japonica:

Millstone™ (‘Halka’) has a good symmetrical form and is less susceptible to stem canker.

Regent® is resistant to leaf-hopper.

`Pendula' (weeping pagodatree) has pendulous branches.


Japanese pagodatree tolerates urban conditions and is suited for large areas where it can spread.

Form and branch structure can be variable, thus purchasing a cultivar with a desirable form is suggested. The shade provided by this tree is not dense, but creates a nice filtered light.

The common name comes from the fact that it was planted around Buddhist temples in Asia.


This material was developed by Carol Ness as part of the Interactive Design and Development Project funded by the Kellogg Foundation.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

May 1, 2009

Other resources in:

Other resources by:

Other resources from: