Styphnolobium japonicum

Botanical Name : Styphnolobium japonicum
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Styphnolobium
Tribe: Sophoreae
Species: S. japonicum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Syn. Sophora japonica
Common Names :Pagoda Tree,Chinese Scholar, Japanese pagodatree or Scholar tree.

Habitat :Styphnolobium japonicum is native to eastern Asia (mainly China; despite the name, it is introduced in Japan), is a popular ornamental tree in Europe, North America and South Africa, grown for its white flowers, borne in late summer after most other flowering trees have long finished flowering.Open country between 300 and 1000 metres in W. China.

Description:
A decidious Tree growing  into a lofty tree 10-20 m tall with an equal spread, and produces a fine, dark brown timber.
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in September, and the seeds ripen in November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It can fix Nitrogen. Compound leaves with small leaflets.  Medium to dark green, with yellowish fall color.Stems are  Green, flowers are creamy white, bloom in late summer.  Flowers are shaped like flowers of pea plants and have a faint fragrance.

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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It cannot grow in the shade.It requires moist soil and can tolerate drought.It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Cultivation:-
Succeeds in a well-drained moderately fertile soil in full sun. Tolerates poor soils, atmospheric pollution, heat and, once established, drought. Hardy to about -25° when mature, but it can be damaged by severe frosts when it is young[200]. A very ornamental and fast growing tree, it grows best in hot summers. It grows best in the warmer areas of the country where the wood will be more readily ripened and better able to withstand winter cold. Trees take 30 years to come into flower from seed, but they do not often ripen their seed in Britain. Cultivated in China for the rutin contained in its leaves and ovaries. Plants should be container-grown and planted out whilst young, older plants do not transplant well. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation:-
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. Pre-soak stored seed for 12 hours in hot (not boiling) water and sow in late winter in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle into individual pots in the greenhouse, and grow them on for 2 years under protected conditions. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer of their third year. Cuttings of young shoots with a heel, July/August in a frame. Air-layering.

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves.

Young leaves and flowers – cooked. The leaves need to be cooked in three lots of water in order to remove the bitterness. This will also remove most of the vitamins and minerals. The leaves are a rich source of rutin, they contain much more than the usual commercial source, buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum). The ovaries, before the flowers open, contain up to 40% rutin. A tea can be made from the young leaves and flowers. An edible starch is obtained from the seed.

Medicinal Uses :
Abortifacient;  Antibacterial;  Anticholesterolemic;  Antiinflammatory;  Antispasmodic;  Diuretic;  Emetic;  Emollient;  Febrifuge;  Hypotensive;  Purgative;
Skin;  Styptic;  Tonic.

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This species is commonly used in Chinese medicine and is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs. It came second in a study of 250 potential antifertility agents. Diuretic, emollient, febrifuge, tonic. The flowers and flower buds are antibacterial, anticholesterolemic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, haemostatic and hypotensive. The ovaries, especially just before the plant flowers, are a rich source of rutin and this is a valuable hypotensive agent. The buds, flowers and pods are concocted and used in the treatment of a variety of ailments including internal haemorrhages, poor peripheral circulation, internal worms etc. This remedy should not be prescribed for pregnant women. The seedpods are abortifacient. The seed is emetic and haemostatic. It is used in the treatment of haemorrhoids, haematuria, uterine bleeding, constipation, stuffy sensation in the chest, dizziness, red eyes, headache and hypertension.It should be used with caution since it is toxic. The leaves are laxative. They are used in the treatment of epilepsy and convulsions. A decoction of the stems is used in the treatment of piles, sore eyes and skin problems.

S. japonicum is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Other Uses :-
Dye;  Wood.

A yellow dye is obtained from the seedpods and the flowers. It is green when mixed with indigo. Wood – tough, light, strong, of superior quality. Used in carpentry.

Gardening:
The Guilty Chinese Scholartree was a historic Pagoda Tree in Beijing, on which the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Chongzhen, hanged himself.

Known Hazards : The plant contains cytosine, which resembles nicotine and is similarly toxic.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

 

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Styphnolobium_japonicum
http://www.wsu.edu/~lohr/wcl/trees/styphno/wstjades.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Sophora+japonica

http://www.integrativepractitioner.com/article_ektid14854.aspx

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