Definitions for kowhai
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kowhai, Sophora tetraptera(noun)
shrub or small tree of New Zealand and Chile having pendulous racemes of tubular golden-yellow flowers; yields a hard strong wood
A small woody legume tree native to New Zealand that has yellow flowers. It is the national flower of New Zealand.
Origin: : From kōwhai, the Maori word for yellow
Kōwhai are small, woody legume trees in the genus Sophora native to New Zealand. There are eight species, Sophora microphylla and S. tetraptera being the most recognised as large trees. Their natural habitat is beside streams and on the edges of forest, in lowland or montane open areas. Kōwhai trees grow throughout the country and are a common feature in New Zealand gardens. Outside of New Zealand, kōwhai tend to be restricted to mild temperate maritime climates. The name kōwhai comes from the Māori word for yellow—a reference to the colour of the flower. It is also called kōhai in some areas. Usually the name is spelled as kōwhai. Despite having no official status as such, the blooms of the kōwhai are widely regarded as being New Zealand's national flower.
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