Tree to 10 m tall with spreading or arching branches. New growth with yellowish hair. Leaves to 15 cm long. Leaflets in 20-40 pairs, obovate or oblong, each 5-7 mm long. Flowers to 4.5 cm long in clusters of 4-10, pale to deep yellow. Fruit pods to 15 cm long, containing 6 or more seeds.
This is the most widespread of the New Zealand sophoras; it is a plant of riverbanks, forest edges and open spaces of the N and S Islands and Chatham Island.
Two botanical varieties are recognised. S. longicarinata G. Simpson & J.S. Thompson has been reinstated as a species on the grounds that it flowers later and has more numerous, smaller and darker-coloured leaflets than S. microphylla (Heenan et al., 2001).
New Zealand, Chile, Gough Island.
VIC: Kyneton (Bot. Gds); Hawthorn (Central Gds, 2 trees).
Source: (2002). Fabaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.