Herbs, shrubs, or in tropical regions trees, with evenly pinnate leaves, not sensitive to the touch, and mainly (in all our species) yellow flowers. Calyx-teeth nearly equal, mostly obtuse, generally longer than the tube. Corolla nearly regular; petals 5, spreading, nearly equal, imbricated, clawed. Stamens usually 10, sometimes 5, often unequal and some of them imperfect; anthers all alike, or those of the lower stamens larger, opening by 2 pores at the summit. Ovary sessile or stalked; ovules 00. Pod flat or terete, often curved, septate or continuous between the seeds, the valves not elastically dehiscent. Seeds numerous. [Ancient name.]

About 200 species, of wide distribution in warm and temperate regions, very abundant in tropical America. Besides the following, about 15 others occur in the southern and southwestern States. Type species: Cassia fistula L.

Leaflets 6 or 4, broadly obovate.


C. Tora.

Leaflets 8-20, oblong or ovate-lanceolate.

Perennial; leaflets oblong, obtuse.

Segments of the pod at least as long as broad; petiolar gland club-shaped.


C. marilandica.

Segments of the pod much shorter than broad; petiolar gland cylindric to conic.


C. Medsgeri.

Annual; leaflets ovate-lanceolate, acute or acuminate.


C. occidentalis.

2 Cassia Tourn L Sp Pl 376 1753 779

1. Cassia Tòra L. Low Senna

Fig. 2437

Cassia Tora L. Sp. Pl. 376. 1753. Cassia obtusifolia L. Sp. Pl. 377. 1753.

Annual, glabrous, 1 1/2°-2° high, branched or simple. Stipules linear-subulate, at length deciduous; leaves petioled, the gland borne between or above the lowest pair of leaflets; leaflets 2-4 pairs, thin, obovate, obtuse and mucronulate at the apex, narrowed or rounded at the base, 1'-1 1/2' long, often 1' wide; flowers 6"-12" broad, few, in short axillary racemes; calyx-lobes oblong, obtuse; stamens 10, the anthers of the upper 3 imperfect; pod linear, very slender, strongly curved, 4'-6' long, about 1 1/2" wide.

Along rivers, southern Pennsylvania to Indiana and Missouri, south to Florida and Mexico, and throughout tropical America and the warmer parts of the Old World. Sickle-senna. Coffee-weed. July-Oct.

1 Cassia T Ra L Low Senna 780

2. Cassia Marilándica L. Wild Or American Senna

Fig. 2438

Cassia marilandica L. Sp. Pl. 378. 1753.

Perennial, glabrous or pubescent with a few scattered hairs, 3°-8° high, little branched. Stipules subulate-linear, caducous; leaves petioled, the club-shaped gland borne near the base of the petiole; leaflets 12-20, oblong or lanceolate-oblong, obtuse or obtusish, mucronate, rounded at the base, ciliate, 1'-2' long, 3"-6" wide; flowers 7"-9" broad, numerous in pubescent axillary racemes on the upper part of the plant; calyx-lobes ovate or oblong, obtuse; stamens 10, the upper 3 imperfect; pod linear, flat, pubescent or becoming glabrous, 3'-4' long, 3" wide, curved, its segments as long as broad or slightly longer; seeds flat, suborbicular.

In swamps and wet soil, Massachusetts to North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee. July-Aug.

3. Cassia Médsgeri Shafer. Medsger's Wild Senna

Fig. 2439

Cassia Medsgeri Shafer, Torreya 4: 179. 1904.

Biennial (?) or perennial, similar to C. marilandica, glabrous or very nearly so throughout. Stipules linear-lanceolate; petiolar gland cylindric to conic; leaflets 8-16, oblong to elliptic, mucronate, glabrous, slightly glaucous beneath, 2' long or less; inflorescence glabrous or nearly so; pod curved, linear, little compressed, 4' long or less, tardily dehiscent, its segments much shorter than broad; seeds obovoid, 2" long, 1" thick.

In dry gravelly soil, Pennsylvania to Georgia, Iowa, Kansas and Texas. July-Sept.

3 Cassia M Dsgeri Shafer Medsger s Wild Senna 781

4. Cassia Occidentàlis L. Coffee Senna. Styptic-Weed

Fig. 2440

Cassia occidentalis L. Sp. Pl. 377. 1753.

Annual, glabrous, much branched, erect, 4°-6° high. Stipules caducous; gland short, borne near the base of the petiole; leaflets 8-12, ovate or ovate-lanceolate, acute or acuminate at the apex, rounded at the base, 1'-2' long, 4"-9" wide; flowers 7"-9" broad, in short axillary racemes; stamens 10, the upper 3 imperfect; calyx-lobes oblong, obtuse; pod linear, glabrous, 4'-6' long, about 3" wide, somewhat curved, its margins thickened.

In waste places, Virginia to Indiana, Kansas, Florida and Mexico, and throughout tropical America, extending to Chili and Uruguay. Also in the warmer parts of the Old World. In our area adventive from the South. Coffee-weed. The seeds are known as negro or magdad coffee. July-Aug.

4 Cassia Occident Lis L Coffee Senna Styptic Weed 782