November 2007


President's corner

Next meeting

Last meeting

This n that



This 'n That

Stan Booker has a board of Pagoda wood for the raffle. I thought I would write something about the woodworking qualities of this wood but can't find anything. Below is the best that I can do. If anybody has any information, let me know and I'll post it.

Pagoda Tree, Scholar Tree, Styphnolobium japonica. The pagoda tree has been cultivated in North America since 1747 (preceding the United States by 29 years) and in Asia for at least 2000 years before that. It gets its common names from its association with Buddhist temples and the graves of learned men. In Asia it also has a long history of medicinal uses, which include everything from curing headaches to inducing abortions. Western medicine has identified some of the pagoda tree's components, testing them for use in treating inflammatory bowel disease and varicose veins. The yellow flowers (similar to, but less dramatic than those of black locust) can be eaten (caution is advised, as the whole plant is toxic to some degree) and can also be used to make dye.

The tree is tolerant of pollution and poor soils, making it a tempting choice for urban landscape architects who want to add an exotic accent to an open area (and don't mind the clean-up of hundreds of fallen pods). The foliage, like that of honey locust, consists of small leaflets, allowing sunlight to filter down to the turf below. The beanlike fruit is distinctive, with the pod pinched around most seeds, looking like pearls on a string.