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NZ Plants

Sophora chathamica - kowhai, coastal kowhai

Pea family: Fabaceae

Sophora chathamica is a tree with one or more trunks. Branches are divergent to upright with dense foliage. The fern-like leaves are divided into 20-50 pairs of leaflets arranged along a central midrib. The leaflets slightly overlap, decrease in size toward the leaf tip, and have distinct stalks (petiolules). A genus of about 45 species found in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres with eight species endemic to New Zealand.
An endemic species indigenous to the upper half of the North Island. All parts of this plant are poisonous, especially the seeds.


Vegetative characteristics

Reproductive characteristics

Plant form: tree up to 20 m

Arrangement of parts: asymmetric


Flower size: 5-10 mm  diam x 40 mm long

Leaf form: divided into 35-52 pair of round to oval leaflets

Sepals: 5

Leaf size: up to 15 cm with 6-16 mm leaflets

Petals: 5, yellow

Leaf arrangement: singly along stem

Sexuality: bisexual

Leaf attachment:

Stamens: 10

Leaf margin: hairs

Ovary: above petals

Leaf surface: hairs

Fruit: dry