Pagoda Tree; Japanese sophora; Chinese scholar tree
pagoda tree; Japanese sophora; Chinese scholar tree
Sophora japonica L.
Sophora japonica is a large tree that is native to Korea and China, despite the common name of Japanese sophora. While it is not currently known to occur outside of cultivation in Arkansas, it does have the potential to become spontaneous with subsequent establishment. The reasons for this are its hardiness once established, ability to reproduce successfully in the US [this species is spontaneous or naturalized in Oklahoma and a few eastern states, including Mississippi where spontaneous seedlings have been observed (spontaneous seedlings have also been observed in Oklahoma, see fig. E for seedlings)], and its ability to self-pollinate with subsequent offspring production. Sophora japonica could be confused with the native, Robinia pseudo-acacia (black locust), which is common in Arkansas. Sophora can be distinguished by the pubescent undersurfaces of its leaflets, the bright green color of its leaves, and the lack of stipular spines. Robinia pseudo-acacia has glabrous leaflets, glaucous-green colored leaves (leaves have a bluish tint to them), and generally by the presence of stout stipular spines (sometimes the stipular spines are small or completely absent).
Figures for Sophora japonica:
F. stipules (though the stipules are elongate, they are not stiff and spinose like the stipules of R. pseudo-acacia);
G. young stem showing lenticels;
H. mature fruits (fruits are bright golden-yellow prior to drying;
K-L. seedling and juvenile plants;
M. spontaneous seedlings produced from a large, cultivated plant.