Caversham Library’s Japanese Pagoda Tree Gets a Much Needed Facelift

Japanese Pagoda Tree at Caversham Library
Japanese Pagoda Tree at Caversham Library

CAVERSHAM Library’s much loved Japanese pagoda tree is getting a new year facelift.

The pagoda tree at the side of the library (opened in 1907) is thought to be the largest of its species in Berkshire and despite its name, originates from China and Korea.

A recent inspection by Reading Council’s tree team flagged the need to carry out work to preserve the tree’s life, protect the library building and ensure the safety of the public. This work is likely to start towards the end of January.

By reducing the tree’s crown, and thinning back the branches which have become very loaded to alleviate any stresses on the limbs, the tree work will boost the tree’s health and help preserve it for years to come.

The beautiful tree was voted as one of Reading residents’ favourite trees in a poll in 2011 during national tree week. The unusual deciduous tree, Latin name Styphnolobium japonicum, is part of the pea family – easily recognized by its podlike fruit, its stipulated leaves and its profuse white, pea-like flowers.

Cllr Sarah Hacker, Reading’s Lead Member of Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “We know this beautiful pagoda tree is highly treasured by residents and library users, and the work our tree team is carrying out in the new year will hopefully preserve its health for future generations to admire.”



Styphnolobium japonicum is native to China; despite the name, it was introduced in Japan. It is a popular ornamental tree in Europe, North America and South Africa, grown for its white flowers, borne in late summer after most other flowering trees have long finished flowering. It grows into a lofty tree 10–20 m tall with an equal spread, and produces a fine, dark brown timber.

Victoria Nickless

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