Sophora is a genus of about 45 species of small trees and shrubs in the pea family Fabaceae. The species are native to southeast Europe, southern Asia, Australasia, various Pacific islands, western South America, the western United States, Florida and Puerto Rico. The generic name is derived from sophera, an Arabic name for a pea-flowered tree. The genus formerly had a broader interpretation including many other species now treated in other genera, notably Styphnolobium (pagoda tree genus), which differs in lacking nitrogen fixing bacteria (rhizobia) on the roots, and Dermatophyllum (the mescalbeans). Styphnolobium has galactomannans as seed polysaccharide reserve, in contrast Sophora contains arabinogalactans, and Dermatophyllum amylose. The New Zealand Sophora species are known as kowhai or kōwhai.