In the United States, it is most often found in humid temperate regions. It prefers moist, well-drained sandy loams of average fertility, but is very urban tolerant (especially to heat, drought, pollution, compacted soils, and poor soils). It has a rapid growth rate, but newly planted saplings may not flower for as long as the first 10 years.
Origin, history, and uses:
Since it has been introduced in North America in 1747, this ornamental tree has been a popular choice for park plantings, parking lot plantings, as a street tree in cities, since its spreading canopy provides much shade. It performs best in a sunny, open location, and provides flowers late into the summer, long after other trees have stopped flowering. As mentioned above, it is an urban-tough tree. The dried flowers and buds of the pagoda tree are used as a medicinal herb in China, Japan and Korea to treat bleeding hemorrhoids and hematemesis. This tree is also a source of rutin, an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant chemical.
The pagoda tree is one of the official trees of Beijing, China and is part of some significant Chinese legends. It was used as a grave-marker for Buddhist monks, though the tree generally carries a negative connotation in Chinese folklore. It was thought to be inhabited by demons, and 1644 AD, Emperor Chongzhen, the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, is said to have hanged himself from a pagoda, as his palace was overtaken by peasants during a revolution.
The flower bloom in late July to August, and the fruits mature in October, their pods persisting into the winter.