Sophora prostrata Dwarf KowhaiMay 29th 2004
The small leaved kowhai tree is found from Northland to Opotiki
Seeds of Kowhai can float and have a tough seed coat (testa) that is impervious to water. Eventually, when conditions are suitable the seed will germinate. The seeds are also eaten by birds. Their journey through the acid environment of the gut dissolves away some of the testa and is an aid to germination.
Kowhai belong to the Legume family of plants. All legumes have similar structured flowers, seeds in pods and have nodules on their roots by which they absorb the fertiliser nitrogen, directly from the soil air. Other legumes include peas, beans, gorse and clover.
Kowhai are also native to the islands of the Pacific, and are found on the Pacific coast of South America. It is thought that the seeds from New Zealand plants floated throughout the Pacific Ocean and washed up on foreign shores. They eventually established themselves over a large range. They are a national Icon of Easter Island.
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