Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

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

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