Japanese Pagoda tree, Chinese Scholar tree

Sophora japonica

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sophora (SOF-or-uh) (Info)
Species: japonica (juh-PON-ih-kuh) (Info)
Synonym:Styphnolobium japonicum



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


over 40 ft. (12 m)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White


Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

São Bernardo Do Campo,

Vincent, Alabama

Berryville, Arkansas

Paso Robles, California

Boulder, Colorado

Grand Junction, Colorado

Clermont, Kentucky

Frankfort, Kentucky

Georgetown, Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Paris, Kentucky

Versailles, Kentucky

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Gibsonia, Pennsylvania

Orem, Utah

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 30, 2014, grdnlove from Boulder, CO wrote:

This is NOT a yard tree. Needs large open grass area. Beautiful large tree in bloom. Starts blooming as early as July in CO. Flowers are nice light yellow pea types, but sprinkle down by the thousands. Mat 3 to 6 inches deep into any plants, roof drainage, etc below. Will cause rot to base of other plants and clogs car vents. Have to use snow shovel or blower to collect flowers off drive at least once a week for couple months. Then the long green seed pods develop and drop. Another mess to cleanup. It also reseeds. Then the leaves fall and leave their stiff midrib in piles that have to be picked up by hand if in vegetation. All together I spend 5 to 6 months cleaning up after this tree. I put this in about 20 years ago and am having it removed next month.


On Feb 25, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A good big shade tree.

This is often sold as a flowering ornamental. It blooms in August. I don't find the greenish-white flowers to be especially showy, though they're produced profusely. From a distance, they blend into the foliage. They do produce quite a mess when they drop.


On Dec 13, 2009, wylie5525 from Altares, Terciera,
Portugal (Zone 9b) wrote:

Love the acid yellow color, but it requires protection from the wind for the flowers to last. Also a benefit are the seed pods that dangle for months and are unusally shaped.


On Dec 28, 2007, Lily_love from Central, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

I've one seedling that is now about 5 feet tall, which was sown early this year. Once it reaches 2 years of age, I'll add my zipcode for the record.


On Mar 9, 2006, Gustichock from Tandil,
Argentina (Zone 10b) wrote:

It's so easy to grow!!!!
Doves eat their black seeds and they propagate them without knowing it! Ha, ha! Like if they care!
Seeds are, like I've mentioned it, black "beans". You only need to soak them for less than 24 hours.
Here in Argentina, in the city I live, somebody decided to plant this type of tree long time ago and now they are everywhere!
Too bad stupid people trim them without knowledge and our county doesn't do anything about it, so trees end up getting diseases and they finally die!
I dont really like these trees much! May be the best of them are the flowers! They have a creamy color!


On Aug 28, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This tree usually does not produce blossoms until it is at least 5 years old. Then, they are yellowish. It grows faster/better in soils without clay.