Sophora toromiro

Sophora toromiro
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Sophora
Species: S. toromiro
Binomial name
Sophora toromiro

Sophora toromiro, commonly known as Toromiro, is a species of flowering tree in the legume family, Fabaceae, that is endemic to Easter Island. Heavy deforestation had eliminated most of the island's forests by the first half of the 17th century, and the once common toromiro became rare and ultimately extinct in the wild.[2]

The tree is being reintroduced to the island in a scientific project partly led jointly by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Gothenburg Botanical Garden, where the only remaining plants of this species with a documented origin were propagated in the 1960s from seeds collected from a single tree by Thor Heyerdahl. It is sometimes claimed that all toromiro trees are derived from this single individual, but research has determined that at least one other tree's descendants survive (Maunder et al., 2000).

Local tradition has it that the rongorongo tablets of Easter Island are made of toromiro. However, all tablets of native wood tested by modern methods have turned out to be Thespesia populnea, known as miro in some Polynesian languages.[2]

The Jardin du Val Rahmeh, a botanical garden in Menton in the south of France, is dedicated to the acclimatization and conservation of rare species, including Sophora toromiro.


  1. World Conservation Monitoring Centre (1998). "Sophora toromiro". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2006. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 11 May 2006.
  2. 1 2 Orliac, Catherine (2005). "The Rongorongo Tablets from Easter Island: Botanical Identification and 14C Dating". Archaeology in Oceania. 40 (3).

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