Scientific Name:
Sophora chathamica Cockayne, Trans. & Proc. New Zealand Inst. 34: 270, 319 (1901 [1902])
  • Sophora microphylla var. chathamica (Cockayne) Yakovlev (1967)
  • Sophora microphylla var. chatamica (Cockayne) Yakolev (1967)
Vernacular Name(s):
Coastal kowhai

Moderate to large tree up to 20 m high, with 1 main trunk or several prominent main branches; main branches spreading to upright. Divaricating and/or strongly flexuose juvenile branchlets usually absent, or very weakly flexuose; branchlets densely pubescent, becoming glabrous with age; hairs appressed, straight. Seedlings and juveniles moderately to densely leafy, leaves with increasing numbers of leaflets. Leaflets on juveniles 4.4-9.0 × 4.4-7.5 mm, ± orbicular to very broadly obovate, crowded, usually overlapping. Leaves on adults up to 15 cm long, imparipinnate, petioles and rachis channelled above, leaflets 25-55. Leaflets on adults 6.0-16.0 × 4.0-8.0 mm, broadly elliptic, broadly obovate, broadly ovate, obovate to ± orbicular, distal leaflets usually smaller than proximal leaflets, usually crowded and overlapping, adaxial surface light green to green, dull, abaxial surface lighter than adaxial surface and slightly concave; apices retuse to obtuse; bases obtuse; petiolules 0.3-0.5 mm long, distinct; petioles, rachides, petiolules, and leaflets usually pubescent, hairs up to 0.4 mm long, appressed, straight. Inflorescences racemose, with up to 11 flowers; peduncle and rachis 15-45 mm long; pedicels up to 25 mm long, each subtended by a bract; bract 2- 3 mm long; peduncles, rachides, pedicels, bracts, and calyces moderately to densely pubescent, hairs brown to yellow-brown, appressed. Calyx 8-10 × 10-13 mm, cupulate, rim shallowly lobed, with deeper notch adjacent to standard. Corolla yellow; keel petal blade 29-43 × 9-11 mm, wing petal blade 25-42 × 9-11 mm, standard petal blade 25-34 × 20-25 mm; petals with distinct claws, 4-6 mm long. Stipe 3.5-7.0 mm long, glabrous to sparsely pubescent. Ovary 17-27 mm long, densely pubescent; hairs up to 0.5 mm long, off-white to light brown, appressed, straight. Style 10-13 mm long, glabrous to sparsely pubescent. Filaments 27-35 mm long. Anthers 2.0-3.5 × 0.8-1.5 mm. Fruit 50- 180 mm long, 4-winged, brown, sparsely to moderately pubescent, with up to 12 seeds. Seeds 5.5-8.0 × 4.0-5.0 mm, oblong, elliptic to ± orbicular, yellow to light yellow-brown. FL Aug-Nov; FT Oct-Sep.

[Reproduced from Heenan et al. (2001, New Zealand J. Bot. 39: 17–53) with permission from The Royal Society of New Zealand.]

Indigenous (Endemic)
Cockayne, L. 1902: A short account of the plant-covering of Chatham Island. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 34: 243–325.
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Barkla J.W.; Courtney, S.P.; Champion, P.D.; Perrie, L.R.; Beadel, S.N.; Ford, K.A.; Breitwieser, I.; Schönberger, I.; Hindmarsh-Walls, R.; Heenan, P.B.; Ladley, K. 2018: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017. New Zealand Threat Classification Series No. 22. [Not Threatened]
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Champion, P.D.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Norton, D.A.; Hitchmough, R.A. 2013: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 3. Department of Conservation, Wellington. [Not Threatened]
Heenan, P.B.; de Lange, P.J.; Wilton, A.D. 2001: Sophora (Fabaceae) in New Zealand: taxonomy, distribution, and biogeography. New Zealand Journal of Botany 39(1): 17–53.