Selecting Landscape Plants: Shade Trees

Japanese pagoda tree (Sophora japonica)

Medium-sized trees

Japanese pagoda tree


  • Maximum height
    40 feet
  • Relative growth rate
    Good
  • Freedom from insect pests
    Excellent
  • Freedom from disease problems
    Good
  • Resistance to storm damage
    Good
  • Will grow on poorly drained soil
    Poor
  • Will grow in hot, dry areas
    Good
  • Easy to transplant
    Good
  • Withstands city conditions
    Excellent

This tree gets its common name from the fact that it was commonly planted around Buddhist temples in Asia. It is also known as the scholar tree or simply as Sophora. Its large clusters of pealike flowers are not especially showy, but they are interesting because they appear in late summer after other trees have already flowered. The yellow seed pods usually hang on the tree until after it has lost its leaves in the fall.