The breeze is no longer warm but hot and days are longer, meaning summer is here. Except for scorching sunlight, cicadas singing, swimming pools and summer vacation, what else can you expect during the season? For Chinese people who love flowers, summer also means it's time for the Chinese scholar tree to blossom.
The Chinese scholar tree, also called the Japanese pagoda tree, is native to China. Its name comes from the belief that planting the tree in gardens would bless scholars to pass their imperial examinations to become officials in ancient China. Endowed with historical and cultural stories, this plant is beloved by Chinese people of every generation.
The Chinese scholar tree will produce flowers in about May or June with white, fragrant flowers blooming in clusters. As Chinese scholar tree is a street or ornamental tree, so the sight of flowers hanging all over the tree is often seen during summer.
Flowers of the Chinese scholar tree have many uses, and one of the most important is food. The bud of the flower is called "Huaimi," and is used as Chinese medicine. As for blossoming flowers, people can make them into patties, desserts, or even wrap them in the stuffing of dumplings. The flower is also a nectar source, and the honey produced will have a special fragrance.
Growing a Chinese scholar tree takes years, but the results are beautiful. The tree does best in full sun with good, loamy soil. It is resistant to droughts and heat, but if you want it to grow well, remember to provide moderate irrigation. It will not flower until it is at least a decade old so until that time comes you can enjoy the big canopy provided by its bright green foliage in the summer.