• ITS;
  • New Zealand flora;
  • phylogeny;
  • rbcL

Sophora tomentosa, the type species of the genus Sophora, is shown by phylogenetic analyses of rbcL and ITS sequence data to be sister to Sophora sect. Edwardsia. S. tomentosa and most of the species from sect. Edwardsia share hypogeal germination, exstipulate leaves, and terete filaments. These species have buoyant seeds, and are distributed by ocean currents throughout the pantropics (S. tomentosa) and around southern temperate oceanic islands (sect. Edwardsia). S. tomentosa differs from the species of sect. Edwardsia by its frutescent growth habit, terminal elongate inflorescence and smooth-walled legume. S. macrocarpa is unusual in sect. Edwardsia as its leaves have stipules, the filaments are winged, and the legume is smooth-walled. © 2004 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2004, 146, 439–446.