D18: Pagoda tree: Styphnolobium japonicum

Originating from China and Korea, not Japan, it was introduced in 1753, and is a member of the Pea family (Fabaceae). The Chinese Name (槐) means Demon Tree. This is a quick growing tree of the pea family reaching 25 m . It has an irregular open crown and the leaves are large and pinnate and emerge late, May and June. The flowers are pea-like, each 1.5 cm long and arranged in 25 cm panicles, appearing in August and September.

It is reported to produce chemicals that interfere with other trees, and has a wide range of traditional Chinese medicinal properties. The wood is used to make the handle of the traditional Japanese adze.

The Chongzhen Emperor hanged himself from one of these trees at the fall of the Ming Empire in 1644.

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