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Sophora microphylla facts for kids

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Sophora microphylla
Kowhai in full bloom at Papakowhai School.jpg
tree in full bloom
Scientific classification
S. microphylla
Binomial name
Sophora microphylla

Sophora microphylla, common name kōwhai, is a species of flowering plant in the family Fabaceae, native to New Zealand. Growing to 8 m (26 ft) tall and broad, it is an evergreen shrub or small tree. Each leaf is 10 cm (4 in) long with up to 40 pairs of shiny oval leaflets. In early spring it produces many racemes of pea-like yellow flowers.

Other common names include weeping kōwhai and small-leaved kōwhai. It is also referred to as South Island Kowhai although this name is misleading since it is widely distributed all over New Zealand including the North Island, though less common in Northland.

The specific epithet microphylla means "small-leaved". S. microphylla has smaller leaves (around 3–6 mm long by 2–5 mm wide) and flowers (1.8-5.0 cm long), than the other well known species Sophora tetraptera (large-leaved kōwhai).

When young S. microphylla has a divaricating and bushy growth habit with many interlacing branches, which begins to disappear as the tree ages.

The cultivar Sun King 'Hilsop' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Its nectar is toxic to the honeybee.

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