Sophora tomentosa L

Last updated: 6 June 2016

Scientific Name

Sophora tomentosa L  


Sophora fometosa L. [Spelling variant], Sophora occidentalis sensu R.O.Williams, Sophora tometosa L. [Spelling variant][1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Pelotok, pelochok [2], ki-koetjing [3]
English Coast sophora, sea-cost laburnum, silverbush [3], sea side pigeon pea [4], yellow sophora, necklace pod [5]
India Moodoomoroonga, mudumurunga, patangkul [3]
Sri Lanka Mudu-murunga [6]
Indonesia Kayu penawar (Javanese); ki uching, mata uching (Sundanese) [2]; kayu pebawar, matas kutjing, upas bidji [3], lolang badjo, lolang pante [7]
Thailand Lolang badjo, lolang pante [7]
Philippines Bangil, baraumaran [3], cabaicabai, cauai, guison, olaumag, pangalangan [8]
Japan Ikaki, iso fuji [3]
Africa Mbaazi-mwitu, mnuka-vundo, mpingo (East Africa); ambotrimorona, firitsoka, fotsiavadikaranto,latapiso, manganrava, tsipolahina (Madagascar) [3]; Utupa-wamwitu [7]
Brazil Caquera [3]
West indies Sophora (Bahamas,Texas); haricot bastard (Gaudeloupe,Martinique); Micar (Cayman islands); tambalista (Cuba) [9]

Geographical Distributions

No documentation

Botanical Description

Sophora tomentosa is a member of the Fabaceae family. It is an erect, evergreen, bushy shrub growing up to 2 m high. The branches are round, greyish, straight, erect, and rather simple, but distantly subdivided. When young they are covered with dense, adpressed, very short and close setae giving them a somewhat hoary and mealy grey appearance. [4]

The petiole is subquandrangular, compressed or with the sides flattened and broader than above, where it is strongly but narrowly channelled; haory, like the young leaves and branches. The leaflets from 6-9 in number, but generally in 8 pairs with an odd terminal one; on short, flattened, pale flesh-coloured downy petiolules with edges slightly revolute. They measures 0.5-1 cm long and 0. 5 to 0.75 cm wide, broadly oval; dark glossy green above and pale beneath. [4]

The flowers are bright lemon-yellow, middle-sized, scentless in erect, leafless panicles measuring from 15-30 cm long, truly lateral and axillary but at first appearing terminal. The bracteas are small, linea-subulate, adpresso-pubescent. The pedicels measure 0.5-0.75 cm long, round, adpress0-pubescent, erecto-patent, jointed close beneath the calyx. The standard reflexed, uniform and bright yellow. The keel and wings are of equal length, nearly as long, and the same uniform colour as the standard. The stamens 10; their filaments nearly whitem, smooth upwards, but pubescent and thickened at the base; perfectly distinct and free throughout. The anthers pale brown. The style simple, with the stigma truncate, smooth, green and about the length of the stamens. The ovary linear, silky, containing many ovules. The pods measure 12-15 cm long, curved, drooping, indehiscent, moniliform. [4]

The seeds forming globose, bead-like knots, pale yellowish, finally dark brown or blackish, haory with very fine cinereous pubescence. There are 5-12 seeds the size of a small pea in a pod. The seeds are subglobose or subcordate, a little pointed both at top and bottom, with a faint, indistict groove down the back, quite smooth and shining, tawny brown or dark fawn colour, darker about the hilum, which is a small elliptic cavity with dark edges. [4]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

S. tomentosa has been reported to contain (-)-epilamprolobine; (+)-epilamprolobine N-oxide; (+)-sophocarpine -oxide; (+)-kuraramine; isokuraramine; 5-(3-methoxycarbonylbutyroyl)aminomethy-trans-quinolizidine N-oxide; N-acetylcytisine; (+)-matrine; (+)-matrine N-oxide; (+)-sophocarpine N-oxide; (−)-anagyrine; (−)- baptifoline; (−)-cytisine; (−)-N-methylcytisine; (−)-N-formylcytisine; (−)-N-acetylcytisine; (±)-ammodendrine; sophoracarpans A and B; wighteone; tomentosanols A-E; sophoraflavanone A - I; naringenin; hesperetin; 6-prenylbaringenin; euchrestaflavanone A; diadzein; genistein; sophoronol; isosophoranone; sophoraisoflavanonoe A; secundifloran; secundiflorol A, D, E, F; tetrapterol G. [10][11][12][13][14][15]

Plant Part Used

Roots, stems, leaves and seeds [15][16]

Traditional Use

S. tomentosa, is known to be diuretic, sudorific and purgative. [9] To the Chinese the roots were considered an esteemed tonic, diuretic and pectoral. The seeds are considered frebrifuge and stomachic. [17]

Amongst the Malay population of the Malay Archipelago this plant is the best remedy for cholera. In the Malay Peninsula powdered roots are used to treat diarrhoea while the root bark and seeds are the remedy for cholera, diarrhoea and consequences of food poisoning. [9] The Filipinos made use of the decoction of the roots, stem or seeds for cholera. However, two seeds are considered a drastic purgative. In India the seeds are made use of to relieve bilious attacks. Infusion of the roots also made use of for the same condition. [16][17]

In the West Indies it is used against venereal diseases. The roots and seeds are used to treat wounds and skin problems by the Malays. [9] In Rorotonga the leaves are used to treat cancer of the breast. The Filipinos extracts oil from the seeds and used them externally for bone-aches and also as an expectorant. [17]

Preclinical Data


No documentation


The seeds of S. tomentosa are poisonous due to the presence of cytisine (sophorine) and other related alkaloids with properties similar to nicotine. All parts of the plant contain poisonous alkaloids. The juice of the plant is used as fish poison in East Africa and as an insecticide in Fiji. [9]

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation


No documentation

Side effects

No documentation

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Sophora tomentosa L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2010 July 14; cited 2016 June 6]. Available from:
  2. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 354.
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume III R-Z. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 341-342.
  4. Sims J. Curtis botanical magazine. Flower-garden displayed. Volume 62. London: Sherwood, Gilbert & Co., 1835; p. 3390.
  5. Richardson A, King K. Plants of deep south Texas: A field guide to the woody and flowering species. Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 2010; p. 273.
  6. MacMillan HF. Handbook of tropical plants. New Delhi: Anmol Publications, 2001; p. 135.
  7. Hanelt P, editor. Mansfeld's encyclopedia of agricultural and horticultural crops. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2001; p. 638.
  8. Tanaka T, Iinuma M, Asai F, Ohyama M, Burandt CL. Flavonoids from the root and stem of Sophora tomentosa. Phytochemistry. 1997;46(8):1431-1437.
  9. Merrill ED. A dictionary of the plant names of the Philippine Islands. Manila: BiblioLife LLC, 1903; p. 29, 30, 40, 50, 63, 84, 89, 93
  10. Brossi A. The Alkaloids: Chemistry and Pharmacology. Volume 31. San Diego: Academic Press Inc, 1987; p. 120, 131, 146
  11. Cordell GA, Southon IW, Buckingham J. Dictionary of alkaloids. Volume 1. London: Chapman and Hall, 1989; p. 588.
  12. Isamu Murakoshi, Eiji Kidoguchi, Minako Nakamura, Joju Haginiwa, Shigeru Ohmiya, Kimio Higashiyama and Hirotaka Otomasu (−)-Epilamprolobine and its N-oxide, lupin alkaloids from Sophora tomentosa Phytochemistry 1981 Vol. 20(7):1725-1730
  13. Kinoshita T., Ichinose K., Takahashi C., Feng-Chi Ho,  Jin-Bin Wu,  Sankawa U., Chemical studies on Sophora tomentosa : the isolation of a new class of isoflavonoid Chemical and pharmaceutical bulletin 1990, vol. 38(10):2756-2759
  14. Motohashi N. Bioactive heterocycles VII: Flavonoids and anthocyanins in plants. London: Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg, 2009; p. 56, 61, 6216.
  15. John R. Jackson On the products of the pea family (Leguminosae): The technologist. Volume II. London: Kent & Co, 1862; p. 263–273.
  16. Philippine Medicinal Plants. Tambalisa (Sophora tomentosa) [homepage on the Internet]. No date [updated 2013 Aug; 2016 June 6]. Available from:
  17. Maffei M. Dietary supplements of plant origin: A nutrition and health approach. London: Taylor & Francis, 2003; p. 221.