Differently substituted flavanones were isolated from Leguminosae and their antibacterial activity was comparatively studied against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of phytochemical flavanones to clinical isolates of MRSA were determined by a serial agar dilution method. The structure-activity relationship has indicated that 2',4'- or 2',6'-dihydroxylation of the B ring and 5,7-dihydroxylation of the A ring in the flavanone structure are important for significant anti-MRSA activity and that substitution with a certain aliphatic group at the 6- or 8-position also enhances the activity. Among the thirteen flavanones tested, tetrahydroxyflavanones with these structural characteristics isolated from Sophora exigua and Echinosophora koreensis showed intensive activity to inhibit the growth of all MRSA strains at 3.13-6.25 micrograms/ml. The present hydroxyflavanones would be useful in the phytotherapeutic strategy against MRSA infections.