The Japanese pagoda tree (Styphnalobium japonica), also called Scholar tree, is native to China and Korea and not Japan. The first specimens seen in the West came from Japanese sources in the 1750’s, hence its classification as a Japanese tree. The Japanese Pagoda tree is a medium to large size deciduous tree with a broad rounded crown. The compound leaves are alternate, pinnate leaflets. The very showy, greenish-white to yellow flowers are produced in mid to late summer and provide an airy feel to the tree for several weeks. They then give way to seed pod looking like string beans. The peas are toxic and should not be consumed. The tree turns a brilliant yellow color in the fall. As Buddhism spread into China, the tree was used as a grave-marker for Buddhist monks. It is a popular ornamental tree in Europe and America.