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NZ Plants

Sophora longicarinata - limestone kowhai

Pea family: Fabaceae

Sophora longcarinata is a shrub or small tree with branches originating at or below the soil surface. The fern like leaves are divided into 35-52 pairs of hair-covered leaflets arranged along a central midrib. The leaflets are distant from each other, of uniform size, with few hairs and have distinct stalks (petiolules).
An endemic species found in the upper half of the South Island on and around limestone outcrops . All parts of this plant are poisonous, especially the seeds.


Vegetative characteristics

Reproductive characteristics

Plant form: small tree up to 5 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 14 cm with 3-6 mm leaflets

Petals: 5, yellow

Leaf arrangement: singly along stem

Sexuality: bisexual

Leaf attachment:

Stamens: 10

Leaf margin: smooth

Ovary: above petals

Leaf surface: hairs

Fruit: dry