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Sophora microphylla x 42 Wholesale Grade


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42 Wholesale Grade plants.

Sophora microphylla
Maori Name: Kowhai

South Island Kowhai

A tree to about 10 metres tall. Leaves are up to 15 cm long. Small leaflets are not longer than 1 cm. The flowers are slightly smaller as well and are coloured pale to golden yellow. It may have a divaricating juvenile form. Its distribution is through all of New Zealand in lowland and lower montane forests, along rivers, forest skirts and open places.situations.

A very important source of Bee Fodder. Many Native birds also drink the nectar.

These plants are extremely healthy, Out door grown in South Canterbury’s harsh conditions. Grown in 7cm Pots

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Kowhai is another of New Zealand’s deciduous trees, actually termed hemideciduous. It loses its leaves just prior to flowering. In August and September the flowers arise from branches naked of leaf. All New Zealanders who live close to nature welcome the kowhai flowers, as they signal the arrival of spring.

The flower of the kowhai is the national flower of New Zealand.

Like all legumes Kowhai have bacterial nodules on their roots that transfer gaseous nitrogen into soil soluble nitrates, an excellent fertiliser. Note the similarity of the seed pod to the other legumes peas and beans.

The seed is adapted for dispersal by floating which accounts for its abundance on stream sides, where floods carry the seeds throughout the catchments system. Native birds such as pigeon feed on the seed pods using the tough seeds as gizzard stones to masticate their food. Pigeons have been observed eating the leaf as well.

The seeds of kowhai have a dormancy mechanism, that being, their tough seed coat (testa) that is impervious to water unless nicked with a sharp knife or scalpel. Soak overnight  and sow in a warm, sunny spot. Germination should proceed within 20 days. A plant 30-40 cm high can be attained one year after germination.

It is said that the Kowhai sprung from the shreds of the cloak of tohunga Ngatoro-I-rangi of the Te Arawa waka on its arrival to Aotearoa. The legend says that a young tohunga asks a girl to marry him while they sit under the bare branches of a Kowhai tree in the month of August. She replies that she will only marry him if he can perform some brilliant act. “I will show you what I can do. I will cause this tree to spring instantly into flower before your eyes.” He uses all his powers and the tree bursts into bloom, his final touch causing a ring of yellow blossoms to appear around the dark hair of the girl. Ever since, say Te Arawa, the Kowhai has flowered on bare and leafless branches


There is a saying in the Bay of Islands: ‘When the kowhai is in flower, the fish are up the Waitangiâ’

  1. Williams Te rongoa maori.


The Kowai is met with principally on the banks of rivers: In the season of spring this tree makes a beautiful appearance , being entirely covered with bright chrome or golden coloured flowers which hang corymbriated, and succeeded by long pendulated pods, the especial food of the Tui and other birds. Its beauty is not dimmed by the reflection in the adjacent stream.

  1. Polack. New Zealand : being a narrative of travels and adventure in that country between the years 1831 and 1837.


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