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Sophora tetraptera - J.F.Mill.

Common Name Kowhai
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards The plant contains cytosine, which resembles nicotine and is similarly toxic[238].
Habitats Streamsides, forest margins and lowland on North Island in New Zealand, from East Cape to latitude 40° 30's[44].
Range New Zealand and S. America - Chile.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Sophora tetraptera Kowhai


Sophora tetraptera Kowhai

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Sophora tetraptera is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 8. It is in leaf all year, in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Edwardsia grandiflora.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge;

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Wood

Wood - compact, dense, heavy, of great strength, tough, elastic, extremely durable. Used for bearings, turnery, cabinet work, ornamental uses etc[46, 61, 139].

Special Uses

Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Succeeds in a well-drained moderately fertile soil in full sun[200]. Requires a warm sheltered position[202]. It grows best in the warmer areas of the country where the wood will be more readily ripened and better able to withstand winter cold[219]. Hardy to about -10°c[200], it succeeds in the open in southern and south-western Britain but is best grown against a wall elsewhere[11, 184]. Plants are of slow to moderate growth[202]. In good summers plants set abundant seed in this country[219]. Plants should be container-grown and planted out whilst young, older plants do not transplant well[219]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse[200]. Pre-soak stored seed for 12 hours in hot (not boiling) water and sow in late winter in a greenhouse[78]. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle into individual pots in the greenhouse, and grow them on for 2 years under protected conditions. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer of their third year. Cuttings of young shoots with a heel, July/August in a frame[11]. Air-layering[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Acacia sophoraeCoastal Wattle, AcaciaShrub0.0 0-0  LMHNDM203
Sophora davidiiSophoraShrub2.5 5-8 SLMHNDM10 
Sophora flavescensKu Shen, Shrubby sophoraShrub1.5 5-9 SLMHNM032
Sophora japonicaJapanese Pagoda Tree, Scholar TreeTree20.0 4-9 FLMHNM232
Sophora mollis Shrub2.0 7-10  LMHNDM102
Sophora moorcroftiana Shrub1.2 -  LMHNM011
Sophora secundifloraMescal Bean, Texas Mountain LaurelTree10.0 7-10 SLMHNDM013
Sophora sericeaSilky SophoraPerennial0.3 -  LMHNDM30 
Sophora tonkinensis Shrub1.0 -  LMHSNM02 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Expert comment

Author

J.F.Mill.

Botanical References

1144200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Roger Martin   Sat Apr 26 2008

Thank you. Explains why we have just lost ours - planted by the previous householder in the shade of a north wall, here in mid-Bucks. In flower in March, only to be killed by April frost and hail.

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Subject : Sophora tetraptera  
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