Sophora molloyi 'Dragon's Gold'

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 Sophora molloyi subsp. var. Dragon's Gold  Kowhai Dragon's Gold
Habit: shrub
Height: to
Width: to
1m2m 1m2m
Height: 1 m to 2 m
Width: 1 m to 2 m
Lifespan: perennial
Origin: Stevens Island, New Zealand
Poisonous: All parts.
Bloom: early spring, early winter, mid winter, late winter
Exposure: sun, part-sun
Water: moist, moderate, dry
Features: evergreen, flowers, birds, wildlife, bees, bonsai
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: -10°C263.15 K
14 °F
473.67 °R
USDA Zones: 8 to 10
Sunset Zones:
Flower features:
Fabaceae > Sophora molloyi var. Dragon's Gold ,

S. molloyi 'Dragon's Gold' is a variety that was discovered on Steven's Island in New Zealand during the 1950's. The name 'Dragon's Gold' comes from the fact that Steven's Island has a very large population of Tuatara.

The flowers are a darker yellow than most other species of Kowhai. It also flowers over a much longer period than other Kowhai, going from around early winter through to early spring. The plant does not usually attain a height much more than 2 metres, although specimens have been known to reach 6 metres.


S. molloyi 'Dragon's Gold' is best planted in a sunny or semi shaded position with moist, free draining soil but will easily tolerate poor dry exposed areas once established. It can be pruned after flowering to form a dense hedge or topiary.


The seeds need to be treated specially to make them grow. In nature the hard outer shell of the Kowhai seed erodes away as it tumbles down streams, so the shell needs to be damaged somehow to allow water to soak into it. To allow this, one can take small nicks out of the shell using a pair of nail clippers or some similar instrument. After the chitting, the seed needs to be placed in a container of water to soak for a night.
The seeds are best planted in a coarse mix to allow for good drainage, this prevents rotting or fungal infections.
The germination period is 14-21 days.

S. molloyi 'Dragon's Gold' can be grown from cuttings during autumn and early winter. They will take about 60-100 days to root and can be planted out in spring.

Pests and diseases

The Kowhai caterpillar is a bright-green and black caterpillar that strips the leaves of the kowhai. The treatment for such a problem is the use of an insecticide such as Orthene (NZ), Mavrik (NZ), Shield (NZ) or Super Shield (NZ).[1]



  1. Yate's 'Garden Problem Solver', HarperCollins, New Zealand, 2001

External links

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