n. origin: Māori

1. Bot.

Any of eight species of small, decorative tree native to New Zealand. It has small leaves (vaguely reminiscent of the leaves of a North American Honey Locust tree) and distinctive bright yellow, drooping flowers. The flowers give way to long, thin, bumpy seed pods (somewhat like a soy bean pod). The entire kowhai plant is mildly poisonous and should not be ingested, with the hard yellow seeds being particularly toxic. However according to the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network, the seeds are quite hard and you would really need to make an effort to seriously poison someone with them.

... a pair of tui
sing raucously in the kowhai ...
Manawatu waking, Demeter

The kowhai leaves and flowers appeared on the New Zealand 2 cent coin from the introduction of decimal currency in 1967 until the one and two cent coins were withdrawn from circulation in 1990. Kowhai flowers later appeared on a new silver dollar design, along with a Kiwi, starting in 2012.

2. The color yellow, in Māori.


Prepared for Brevity Quest 2016 (213) and also to promote Manawatu waking for Lost Gems of Yesteryear: Odyssey Two.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.