The cultivated tree formerly known as Sophora japonica is now placed in a separate genus, Styphnolobium.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:120
Specimens with Barcodes:67
Species With Barcodes:29
Sophora is a genus of about 45 species of small trees and shrubs in the pea family Fabaceae. The species are native to southeast Europe, southern Asia, Australasia, various Pacific islands, western South America, the western United States, Florida and Puerto Rico. The generic name is derived from sophera, an Arabic name for a pea-flowered tree.
The genus formerly had a broader interpretation including many other species now treated in other genera, notably Styphnolobium (pagoda tree genus), which differs in lacking nitrogen fixing bacteria (rhizobia) on the roots, and Dermatophyllum (the mescalbeans). Styphnolobium has galactomannans as seed polysaccharide reserve, in contrast Sophora contains arabinogalactans, and Dermatophyllum amyloid.
The Toromiro (Sophora toromiro) was formerly a common tree in the forests of Easter Island. The tree fell victim to the deforestation that eliminated the island's forests by the 18th century, and later became extinct in the wild. The tree is being reintroduced to the island in a scientific project partly led jointly by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Göteborg Botanical Garden, where the only remaining plants of this species with a documented origin were propagated in the 1960s from seeds collected by Thor Heyerdahl.
- Sophora albescens (Rehder) C.Y. Ma
- Sophora albo-petiolulata Léonard
- Sophora alopecuroides L.—Sophora Root
- Sophora bakeri Prain
- Sophora benthamii Steenis
- Sophora brachygyna C.Y. Ma
- Sophora cassioides (Phil.) Sparre—Pelú (Chile)
- Sophora chathamica Cockayne—Coastal Kowhai (New Zealand)
- Sophora chrysophylla (Salisb.) Seem.—Māmane (Hawaii)
- Sophora davidii (Franch.) Kom. ex Pavol.
- Sophora denudata Bory
- Sophora dunnii Craib
- Sophora exigua Craib
- Sophora fernandeziana (Phil.) Skottsb. (Juan Fernández Islands)
- var. fernandeziana (Phil.) Skottsb.
- var. reedeana (R.A.Phillips) Skottsb.
- Sophora flavescens Aiton—Ku Shen (Eastern Asia)
- var. flavescens Aiton
- var. galegoides (Pall.) DC.
- var. kronei (Hance) C.Y.Ma
- Sophora franchetiana Dunn
- Sophora fraseri Benth.
- Sophora fulvida (Allan) Heenan & de Lange—Waitakere Kowhai (New Zealand)
- Sophora godleyi—Godley Kowhai, Papa Kowhai (New Zealand)
- Sophora howinsula (W.R.B.Oliv.) P.S.Green —Lignum Vitae, Lord Howe Kowhai
- Sophora inhambanensis Klotzsch
- Sophora interrupta Bedd.
- Sophora jaubertii Spach
- Sophora koreensis Nakai
- Sophora lanaiensis (Chock) O. Deg. & I. Deg.
- Sophora leachiana M. Peck
- Sophora linearifolia Griseb.
- Sophora longicarinata (G.Simpson) Allan—Limestone Kowhai (New Zealand)
- Sophora longipes Merr.
- Sophora macrocarpa Sm.—Mayo or Mayú (Chile)
- Sophora mangarevaensis H.St.John (French Polynesia)
- Sophora masafuerana (Phil.) Skottsb. (Juan Fernández Islands)
- Sophora microcarpa C.Y. Ma
- Sophora microphylla Aiton—Small-leaved Kowhai (New Zealand)
- Sophora molloyi—Cook Strait Kowhai (New Zealand)
- Sophora mollis (Royle) Baker
- subsp. griffithii (Stocks) Ali
- subsp. mollis (Royle) Baker
- Sophora moorcroftiana (Benth.) Baker
- Sophora nuttalliana B.L. Turner
- Sophora pachycarpa Schrenk ex C.A.Mey.
- Sophora polyphylla Urb.
- Sophora praetorulosa Chun & T. Chen
- Sophora prazeri Prain
- var. mairei (Pamp.) P.C.Tsoong
- var. prazeri Prain
- Sophora prostrata Buchanan—Dwarf Kowhai, Prostrate Kowhai (New Zealand)
- Sophora raivavaeensis H.St.John (French Polynesia)
- Sophora rapaensis H.St.John (French Polynesia)
- Sophora rhynchocarpa Griseb.
- Sophora saxicola Proctor (Jamaica)
- Sophora secundiflora, a popular landscape plant, was reclassified to Dermatophyllum secundiflorum.
- Sophora stenophylla A. Gray
- Sophora tetraptera J.F. Mill.—Large-leaved Kowhai, Taupo Kowhai (New Zealand)
- Sophora tomentosa L.—Necklace Pod (Pantropical on coasts)
- subsp. littoralis (Schrad.) Yakovlev
- subsp. occidentalis (L.) Brummitt
- subsp. tomentosa L.
- Sophora tonkinensis Gagnep.
- Sophora toromiro Skottsb.—Toromiro (Easter Island)
- Sophora unifoliata (Rock) O. Deg. & Sherff
- Sophora velutina Lindl.
- subsp. cavaleriei (H.Lev.) Brummitt & J.B.Gillett
- subsp. velutina Lindl.
- subsp. zimbabweensis J. B. Gillett & Brummitt
- Sophora violacea Thwaites
- Sophora wightii Baker (India)
- Sophora xanthantha C.Y. Ma
- Sophora yunnanensis C.Y. Ma
- Sophora zeylanica Trimen
Species names with uncertain taxonomic status
The status of the following species is unresolved:
- Sophora albicans J.St.-Hil.
- Sophora ambigua P.C.Tsoong
- Sophora angulata (Hook. & Arn.) Ravenna
- Sophora angustifoliola Q.Q.Liu & H.Y.Ye
- Sophora biflora Houtt.
- Sophora biflora Retz.
- Sophora buxifolia Retz.
- Sophora chathamica Cockayne
- Sophora coerulea Moench
- Sophora cuneifolia Steud.
- Sophora davidii (Franch.) Skeels
- Sophora donihuensis Ravenna
- Sophora fulvida (Allan) Heenan & de Lange
- Sophora genistaefolia Salisb.
- Sophora genistoides L.
- Sophora glabra Moench
- Sophora glabra Hassk.
- Sophora godleyi Heenan & de Lange
- Sophora grandiflora (Salisb.) Skottsb.
- Sophora grisea O.Deg. & Sherff
- Sophora hirsuta Aiton
- Sophora houghiana Wall.
- Sophora howinsula (W.R.B. Oliv.) P. Green
- Sophora jabandas Montrouz.
- Sophora juncea Schrad.
- Sophora ludovice-Adecim-Asexta Buc'hoz
- Sophora mangarevaensis H.St.John
- Sophora mecosperma J.St.-Hil.
- Sophora molloyi Heenan & de Lange
- Sophora molokaiensis O. Degener & I. Degener
- Sophora mutabilis Salisb.
- Sophora myrtillifolia Retz.
- Sophora oblongata P.C.Tsoong
- Sophora oblongifolia Ruiz & Pav.
- Sophora oligophylla Baker
- Sophora pendula Spach
- Sophora pentaphylla Desv.
- Sophora persica (Boiss. & Buhse) Rech.f.
- Sophora praetorulosa Chun & T.C. Chen
- Sophora raivavaeensis H.St.John
- Sophora rapaensis H.St.John
- Sophora robinoides Walp.
- Sophora senegalensis Deless. ex DC.
- Sophora sibirica Holub
- Sophora sinica Rosier
- Sophora sinuata Larrañaga
- Sophora sororia Hance
- Sophora sumatrana Yakovlev
- Sophora sylvatica Burch.
- Sophora tetraptera J. Miller
- Sophora tiloebsis Blume ex Miq.
- Sophora tiloensis Blume ex Miq.
- Sophora trifolia Steud.
- Sophora triphylla Sweet
- Sophora vanioti H. Lév.
- Sophora vestita Nakai
- Sophora viciifolis Hance
- Cardoso D, Pennington RT, de Queiroz LP, Boatwright JS, Van Wyk B-E, Wojciechowski MF, Lavin M. (2013). "Reconstructing the deep-branching relationships of the papilionoid legumes". S Afr J Bot 89: 58–75. doi:10.1016/j.sajb.2013.05.001.
- "Sophora L.". TROPICOS. Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2010-01-28.
- "Genus: Sophora L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2006-11-03. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
- "PLANTS Profile Sophora nuttalliana B.L. Turner silky sophora". USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
- "PLANTS Profile Sophora tomentosa L.yellow necklacepod". USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
- Gledhill, D. (2008). The Names of Plants (4 ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 356. ISBN 978-0-521-86645-3.
- Heenan PB, de Lange PJ, Wilton AD. (2001). "Sophora (Fabaceae) in New Zealand: taxonomy, distribution, and biogeography". New Zealand J Bot 39 (1): 17–53. doi:10.1080/0028825X.2001.9512715.
- Tsoong P-C, Ma C-Y. (1981). "A study on the genus Sophora Linn.". Acta Phytotaxon Sin 19 (1): 1–22.
- Tsoong P-C, Ma C-Y. (1981). "A study on the genus Sophora Linn. (Cont.)". Acta Phytotaxon Sin 19 (2): 143–167.
- Hurr KA, Lockhart PJ, Heenan PB, Penny D. (1999). "Evidence for the recent dispersal of Sophora (Leguminosae) around the Southern Oceans: molecular data". J Biogeog 26 (3): 565–577. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2699.1999.00302.x. JSTOR 2656144.
- Michell AB, Heenan PB. (2002). "Sophora sect. Edwardsia (Fabaceae): further evidence from nrDNA sequence data of a recent and rapid radiation around the Southern Oceans". Bot J Linn Soc 140 (4): 435–441. doi:10.1046/j.1095-8339.2002.00101.x.
- "ILDIS LegumeWeb entry for Sophora". International Legume Database & Information Service. Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
- USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. "GRIN species records of Sophora". Germplasm Resources Information Network—(GRIN) [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
- "The Plant List entry for Sophora". The Plant List. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Missouri Botanical Garden. 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
- Heenan PB. (2001). "The correct name for Chilean pelú (Fabaceae): the identity of Edwardsia macnabiana and the reinstatement of Sophora cassioides". New Zealand J Bot 39 (1): 167–170. doi:10.1080/0028825X.2001.9512725.
Kowhai are small, woody legume trees in the genus Sophora native to New Zealand. There are eight species, S. microphylla being the most common. Kowhai trees grow throughout the country and are a common feature in New Zealand gardens. Outside of New Zealand, Kowhai tend to be restricted to mild temperate maritime climates. Species in this group include S. chathamica, S. fulvida, S. godleyi, S. longicarinata, S. microphylla, S. molloyi, S. prostrata, and S. tetraptera.
Description and ecology
Most species of Kowhai grow to around 8 m high and have fairly smooth bark with small leaves. Sophora microphylla has smaller leaves (5–7 mm long by 3–4 mm wide) and flowers (2.5-3.5 cm long) than S. tetraptera which has leaves of 1–2 cm long and flowers that are 3 cm-5 cm long.
The very distinctive, almost segmented pods, which appear after flowering each contain six or more smooth, hard, yellow seeds. These seeds can be very numerous and the presence of many hundreds of these distinctively yellow seeds on the ground quickly identifies the presence of a nearby Kowhai tree. Many other Kowhai trees lose most of their leaves immediately after flowering in October or November but quickly produce new leaves. Flowering of Kowhai is staggered from July through to November, meaning each tree will get attention from birds.
Kowhai can be grown from seed or tip cuttings in spring and autumn. The hard, dark or bright yellow seeds germinate best after chitting and being soaked in water for several hours. They can also benefit from a several minute submersion in boiling water to soften the hard shell and then being kept in the same water, taken off boil, for several hours to soak up the water. Young Kowhai are quite frost tender, so cuttings or seedlings should be planted in their second year when they are 30 cm or higher.
All parts of the Kowhai are poisonous. 
Māori medicinal use
In traditional times, Māori used the Kowhai tree as medicine. The bark was heated in a calabash with hot stones, and made into a poultice to treat wounds or rubbed on a sore back or made into an infusion to treat bruising or muscular pains. If someone was bitten by a seal, an infusion (wai kōwhai) was prepared from Kowhai and applied to the wounds and the patient was said to recover within days.
- ^ "Sophora". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=26957.
- ^ a b The Current Taxonomy of New Zealand Legumes
- ^ "Nationhood and identity", in Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
- ^ "Kowhai" in New Zealand A to Z.
- ^ Kirsten L. Campbell (2006). "A study of home ranges, movements, diet and habitat use of kereru (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) in the southeastern sector of Banks Peninsula, New Zealand". Lincoln University. http://researcharchive.lincoln.ac.nz/dspace/bitstream/10182/347/7/campbell_msc.pdf.txt.
- ^ "Native Plants at Piha". http://www.piha.co.nz/natives.htm#kowhai. Retrieved 2009-01-17.
- ^ http://www.hbrc.govt.nz/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=agysH%2BBO92c%3D&tabid=244&mid=1231 Raising Native Plants From Seed
- ^ "Trees for Survival". http://www.tfsnz.org.nzresources.cfm#kowhai. Retrieved 2009-01-17.
- ^ "Sophora—The Kowhais of New Zealand". http://www.ipps.org/Papers/NewZealand%5CHughes.PDF. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
- ^ "Poisonous Plants at the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture". http://www.rnzih.org.nz/pages/poison.html. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
- ^ a b Jones, Rhys (2 March 2009). "Rongoā – medicinal use of plants - Other medicinal plants". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/rongoa-medicinal-use-of-plants/4. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
- ^ Durie, Sir Mason (2010). "Te whakahaumanutanga me te oranga hinengaro o mua – Ka mātaia ngā huanga o te rongoā - Traditional healing and mental health: measuring the effectiveness of rongoā". Best Practice Journal (Best Practice Advocacy Centre) June (28): 5–7. http://www.bpac.org.nz/magazine/2010/june/docs/BPJ_28_rongoa_pages5-7.pdf.
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