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65. Caversham Scholar
Reading is well endowed with trees, and the Japanese pagoda tree next to Caversham Library should be on any visitor’s itinerary.
The Caversham Scholar is a truly magnificent Japanese pagoda, or scholar tree. There can be few trees that equal this specimen in such an urban setting. It dwarfs Caversham Library, a building emblazoned with the year 1907, providing a likely planting date for the tree. Visit in late August to see the canopy covered in small, aromatic white flowers, an increasingly common sight as temperatures rise.
Japanese Pagoda Tree
Where to find it
Japanese pagoda tree notes
Although we call them ‘Japanese’ pagoda trees, this species originates from China where it is known as the scholar tree – apparently planting one brought luck to scholars studying for exams in ancient China. It arrived in England around 1753, and what is perhaps the ‘original’ tree still grows at Kew, although now it is horizontal and barely held aloft by a series of props including one of brick. Despite being with us for approaching 300 years, it is not frequently encountered, although It does well in the south of England and is one of the few trees to flower in late August. The flowers of a pagoda tree are a delight: small white inflorescences that are delicately scented and fall from the tree creating a carpet of ‘snow’ around the tree.