Special to the PRESS
July’s plant of the month is known as the Yellow Sophora, or necklace pod. This coastal Texas native is from the Fabaceae family, with the scientific name Sophora tomentosa. The shrubs grow to approximately six and a half feet tall with hairy alternating leaflets. The flowers are yellow, pea-shaped, and strongly bilateral. The fruit of the Yellow Sophora is considered a legume, growing approximately five and a half inches long and resembling a bean pod.While the pods are poisonous to eat, they have been used for medicinal purposes in the West Indies.
The Yellow sophora blooms in the spring, summer, and fall months, and can be found in both Cameron and Willacy counties along the coastal sands. The showy yellow flower tends to attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, and when planted in the garden, responds well to heavy pruning every two to three years. In its natural habitat, this shrub will die back severely during a drought, but grows back quickly during the rainy months.
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