Japanese Pagodatree

Styphnolobium japonicum (L.) Schott  – Fabaceae – legume family

The Japanese Pagodatree is a rare street tree in Albion.  It is really only conspicuous when flowering, which in Albion is very late July or early August.  The flowers are cream-colored and typical of members of the legume (bean) family.

Like many other legumes, the leaves are compound (composed of leaflets) with swollen areas called pulvini (singular = pulvinus) located at the based of the leaf stalk (petiole) and the bases of all the leaflets.  These pulvini are associated with leaf movements driven by changes in water levels in various regions of each pulvinus.

When flowering, the Japanese Pagodatree is superficially similar to the Goldenrain Tree, a species with markedly toothed leaflets and larger, yellow flowers.  In Albion, the Goldenrain Tree typically blooms several weeks earlier in July.

The only local specimens we have seen of this east Asian species are several trees located in the vicinity of the corner of S Ionia Street and E Walnut Street.  No doubt Susan Crawford Rieske was involved in planting these.  We would appreciate learning about others.