Sophora chrysophylla – Mamane
Other Common Names: Mamani
Sophora chrysophylla is a perennial flowering plant that is prevalent in Hawaii. It belongs to the pea and bean family, Fabaceae, and is also known as Mamani or Mamane. They usually grow scattered in dry to moist forests as well as shrub lands, and occasionally in wet forests too.
Mamane grows as a large shrub or a small to medium sized tree, as it can grow up to 15 meters or 49 feet in height. It has golden brown branches that also have ridges and folds running along them.
The Mamane tree grows pinnately compound leaves that consist of 6 to 10 pairs of oval foliole or leaflets. Each leaflet is normally 0.7 to 5 centimeters or 0.28 to 1.97 inches long and 0.3 to 2.3 centimeters or 0.12 to 0.91 inches wide. They have a smooth surface, but have hairs on the underside.
At the bases of the leaves or at the ends of the branches, golden yellow flowers grow in clusters. They usually bloom in winter and spring with petals ranging from 11.5 to 21 millimeters or 0.45 to 0.83 inches long and 8 to 20 millimeters or 0.31 to 0.79 inches wide.
The flowers produce winged, woody pods that are shaped like bead strings. They are colored brown to brownish gray, and are usually 2 to 16 centimeters or 0.79 to 6.30 inches long and 1.5 centimeters or 0.59 inches wide. They contain seeds that are either yellow, orange, brown, or grayish black in color.
Mamanes have hard and durable wood, that is why they are often used as a house or fence posts. The flowers are also used as a herbal medicine, but the seeds are poisonous, so they should not be ingested or used in any way.