Chinese Scholar Tree
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Chinese Scholar Tree
ntroduced Photo: Gurcharan Singh
Common name: Chinese Scholar Tree, Pagoda Tree, Japanese Pagoda Tree • Kashmiri: ﭼﮭﺘﺮ ﻛﹹﻞ Chhatur kul, ﭼﮭﺘﺮﯼ ﻛﹹﻞ Chhatri kul
Botanical name: Styphnolobium japonicum    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Sophora japonica, Sophora japonica var. pendula

Chinese Scholar Tree is native of China, despite its misleading species name. This medium sized tree grows to 65 ft tall, usually with a broad round crown. It has a rapid growth rate and tolerates city conditions, heat, and drought. When grown in a yard, the Chinese Pagoda Tree can reach a height of 50-75 ft, however, when grown along the road in compact soil, it only grows to 30-40 ft. The young bark is pale gray, becoming furrowed into fibrous, interlaced, scaly ridges. The 6- to 10-inch, bright-green, pinnate leaves are fern-like and consist of 9-15, elliptic leaflets. The leaves are extremely pest-free. This tree begins to bloom when 10 to 15 years old. In late summer and early fall, 10-15 inch upright panicles of mildly fragrant, creamy-white, pea-like flowers are produced at the ends of branches and live about a month. Chinese Scholar Tree is planted as an ornamental tree in Kashmir.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh Photographed in Kashmir.

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