Sophora tomentosa L.

Upright, evergreen, bushy shrub with typically nine leaflets and bright lemon yellow, scentless flowers.  [BM t.3390/1836].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘The shining, dark green, handsome foliage of this plant, contrasting with its bright yellow spike-like panicles of flowers, render it a very ornamental shrub; but in Madeira, […] it is singularly liable to be infested by a species of caterpillar, which, at intervals, absolutely swarms upon it, stripping it of all its leaves and beauty. The foliage has a fetid, sub-bituminous smell, like that of Psoralea Americana L., or P. bituminosa L.  Raised from Brazilian seeds by Mrs. Penfold, of the Achada, flowering chiefly in May or June; the seeds ripening in September and October.  Miller says that in Jamaica, of which it is a native, the other more hoary variety, alpha, Sophora tomentosa L., is called Sea-side Pigeon Pea.  This was made by Linnaeus a distinct species from the smoother plant here figured (S. occidentalis L.): but they have been long united by Mr. Brown, under the name of S. tomentosa.’  [BM t.3390/1836].

History at Camden Park

Hand written in a copy of the 1850 catalogue in the Mitchell Library collection inscribed on the front Wm. Macarthur 23rd Dec. 1854.  [ML 635.9m].  Certainly grown in the gardens at this time.


Sophora tomentosa Hort. ex Dippel (1893) = Sophora violacea Hort.

Published Dec 25, 2009 - 04:46 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2010 - 02:30 PM

Illustrated are pinnate leaves, terminal panicle of small yellow pea flowers and pod.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.3390, 1836.

Sophora tomentosa L. | BM t.3390/1836 | BHL

More details about Sophora tomentosa L.
Family Fabaceae
Region of origin

South America, Caribbean

  • Sophora occidentalis L.
  • Sophora tomentosa var. occidentalis (L.) Isely 
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Sophora tomentosa

Confidence level high