Cassia grandis

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Local names:
English (coral shower,apple blossom cassia,pink shower,liquorice tree,horse cassia), French (bâton casse,casse du Brésil), Lao (Sino-Tibetan) (may khoum), Malay (kotek mamak), Spanish (sandal,carao,carámano,cañafistula,cañadonga), Thai (kanpaphruek (Bang

Cassia grandis is a medium-sized tree, up to 20(-30) m tall, semi-deciduous, young branches and inflorescence covered with rusty lanate indumentum.

Leaves with 10-20 pairs of leaflets, petiole 2-3 cm long, lanate, leaflets subsessile, elliptical-oblong, 3-5 cm x 1-2 cm, subcoriaceous, rounded at both ends.

Inflorescence a lateral raceme, 10-20 cm long, 20-40-flowered; flowers with sepals 5-8 mm long, petals initially red, fading to pink and later orange, the median one red with a yellow patch, stamens 10 with hirsute anthers, 3 long ones with filaments up to 30 mm and anthers 2-3 mm long, 5 short ones with filaments 7-9 mm and anthers 1-1.5 mm long, 2 reduced ones with filaments about 2 mm long.

Fruit pendent, compressed, 20-40(-60) cm long, 3-5 cm in diameter, blackish, glabrous, woody, rugose; seeds 20-40 per pod, surrounded by sweetish pulp. 

The roots of C. fistula and C. javanica lack nodulating ability, but for C. grandis this is not clear.

Ecology

C. grandis is a common element of lowland and riparian, semi-deciduous forests.

Native range
Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Surinam, Venezuela

Tree management

C. grandis requires regular pruning. It has the ability to sucker.

Seed can be stored for prolonged periods without loss of viability.

C. grandis is a common element of lowland and riparian, semi-deciduous forests.

C. grandis can be propagated by seed and vegetatively through cuttings and layering. Seeds have a hard seed-coat and germination is improved considerably by mechanical scarification or treatment with concentrated sulphuric acid for at least 45 minutes.  In Costa Rica, C. grandis is propagated by means of large cuttings ('apicormic shoots'). Vertical shoots of 15 cm in diameter are cut, trimmed to a length of 2.5 m. These are laid out in the shade for a week and then stacked vertically for three weeks. Then they are planted, with the lower ends buried 50 cm deep.

The tree is recommended for revegetation in especially periodically flooded areas.

 The membrane surrounding seeds is used as a chocolate substitute in Central America.

Fodder: Cattle relish the fruit pods of the tree.

The tree is considered good for charcoal and fuelwood.

Timber: C. grandis is reported to give strong multipurpose wood, used in joinery, carpentry, beams among others.

Medicine: The fruit pulp is used as a laxative similar to C. fistula and reported to be more powerful. The ripe pods and seeds of C. grandis are also used as a laxative.  A decoction of the leaves is used as a laxative and in the treatment of lumbago.  Fresh juice of the leaves of C. grandis is used externally in the treatment of ringworm.  Anthraquinones are found in C. grandis (aloe-emodin).  Compounds isolated from C. grandis include centaureidine, catechin, myristicin, 2,4-dihydroxybenzaldehyde, 3,4,5-trimethoxybenzaldehyde, 2,4,6-trimethoxybenzaldehyde, beta-sitosterol, kokusaginine (6,7-dimethoxyfuroquinoline) and fabioline (1,1'-bipiperidine). The ethanol extract of the leaves and bark of C. grandis showed in vitro antifungal activity against Epidermophyton floccosum, Microsporum gypseum and Trichophyton rubrum in pure culture at a minimal inhibitory concentration of 50 microgram/ml.

Gum or resin: The seeds of C. grandis are a potential commercial source of gums. Seed gum is a potential binder for the pharmaceutical industry.

Ornamental: C. grandis has been widely introduced for ornamental purposes.

Boundery or barrier or support: C. grandis can be planted as a live fence.

Intercropping: C. grandis is recommended for dry zone intercropping with perennial crops and in pastures.