This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sophora in the summer

Sophora is used extensively as a street tree in Ann Arbor, but almost never in the private landscape. With its soft fluffy clouds of light yellow flowers, for mid-summer action it can't be beat. (I should have posted this a week or two ago because right right now the flowers are beginning to drop.)

Sophora japonica is the name I learned. I call is sophora. Simple enough. But its proper scientific name is now Styphnolobium japonica. And it doesn't come from Japan. But no doubt that is, as my daughter might say, TMI*.  The tree is a legume. It has green twigs and pinnately compound leaves. Check it out on Melrose off Devonshire, or Geddes east of Washtenaw, or along Brooks (where it grows with corktree) and Fountain St.

There's a relative of this tree that grows in the southwest. I know this because a certain local professional botanist grows it in Ann Arbor. He gave me a sample of the fruit to see if I could identify the genus. I should have been able to guess but I was too intimidated to be think clearly. Westerners call the plant 'Eve's necklace' because of the way the pod is constricted between the 'peas.' Necklace-y for sure. And just like the fruit of the trees growing along Melrose, Geddes and Brooks.

*TMI -- 'too much information.'
A little more TMI: some 'common' names of sophora are 'pagoda tree' and 'scholar tree.'

No comments:

Post a Comment