Senna spectabilis

Invasive species Disclaimer

In view of the fact that some tree species are invasive, the world Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) has put in place a policy document on Invasive Alien Species, currently under draft available at Here.

For more information on this subject, please refer to
100 of the World's worst Invasive and Alien Species.

Species Index    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Multiple Criteria Search

Abelmoschus moschatus
Acacia aneura
Acacia angustissima
Acacia aulacocarpa
Acacia auriculiformis
Acacia catechu
Acacia cincinnata
Acacia crassicarpa
Acacia elatior
Acacia erioloba
Acacia etbaica
Acacia ferruginea
Acacia glauca
Acacia holosericea
Acacia karroo*
Acacia koa
Acacia laeta
Acacia lahai
Acacia leptocarpa
Acacia leucophloea
Acacia mangium
Acacia mearnsii*
Acacia melanoxylon
Acacia mellifera
Acacia nilotica subsp nilotica
Acacia pachycarpa
Acacia pennatula
Acacia polyacantha ssp. polyacantha
Acacia saligna
Acacia senegal
Acacia seyal
Acacia sieberiana
Acacia tortilis
Acacia xanthophloea
Acrocarpus fraxinifolius
Adansonia digitata
Adenanthera pavonina
Aegle marmelos
Afzelia africana
Afzelia quanzensis
Agathis macrophylla
Agathis philippinensis
Ailanthus altissima
Ailanthus excelsa
Ailanthus triphysa
Albizia adianthifolia
Albizia amara
Albizia anthelmintica
Albizia chinensis
Albizia coriaria
Albizia ferruginea
Albizia gummifera
Albizia julibrissin
Albizia lebbeck
Albizia odoratissima
Albizia procera
Albizia saman
Albizia versicolor
Albizia zygia
Aleurites moluccana
Allanblackia floribunda
Allanblackia stuhlmannii
Allanblackia ulugurensis
Alnus acuminata
Alnus cordata
Alnus japonica
Alnus nepalensis
Alnus rubra
Alphitonia zizyphoides
Alstonia boonei
Alstonia congensis
Alstonia scholaris
Altingia excelsa
Anacardium occidentale
Andira inermis
Annona cherimola
Annona muricata
Annona reticulata
Annona senegalensis
Annona squamosa
Anogeissus latifolia
Anthocephalus cadamba
Antiaris toxicaria
Antidesma bunius
Araucaria bidwillii
Araucaria cunninghamii
Arbutus unedo
Areca catechu
Arenga pinnata
Argania spinosa
Artemisia annua
Artocarpus altilis
Artocarpus camansi
Artocarpus heterophyllus
Artocarpus integer
Artocarpus lakoocha
Artocarpus mariannensis
Asimina triloba
Ateleia herbert-smithii
Aucomea klaineana
Averrhoa bilimbi
Averrhoa carambola
Azadirachta excelsa
Azadirachta indica
Azanza garckeana
Related Links
Trees: Stand in secondary growth forest.
© Rafael T. Cadiz
Senna spectabilis branches.
© Rafael T. Cadiz
Senna spectabilis leaves.
© Rafael T. Cadiz

Local names:
English (calceolaria shower,pisabed,cassia,yellow shower), Spanish (frijolillo,bruscón,cañafístula bobo,cañafístula cimarró,cañafístula macho,canchín,candelillo,casse maron,algarrobilo,chucaro,libertad,mucuteno,mutuy,parica,pela burro,tarantán,velero,vel

Senna spectabilis is a small, rounded deciduous tree, 7-10 m (max. 15) tall, and 30 cm in trunk diameter, with a spreading crown. Bole is short, tends to fork near the ground and is wide spreading with drooping, leafy branches. Bark smooth, grey with horizontal markings, many warts and short fissures, rougher with age with broad vertical bands of large lenticels (corky pores). Twigs stout, brown with light dots (lenticels), finely hairy; young parts softly pubescent.

Leaves alternate, up to 40 cm, compound (pinnate) with 4-15 (max. 19) pairs of leaflets, each up to 7.5 cm; petiole 3-4 cm; rachis 10-20 cm (max. 35); stipules paired, threadlike, linear falcate, early caducous, about 1 cm long, without glands; leaflets narrowly elliptic, 3-7 x 1-2 cm (the lowermost petal usually much smaller and early caducous); base rounded, apex acute, mucronate; margin entire, upper surface glabrous, dull green and almost hairless, with many slightly sunken side veins; lower surface dull light green and soft hairy, sometimes hairless; petiolule short, about 3 mm long.

Inflorescence large, terminal, lateral, leafy panicles, 15-30 cm (max. 90) long, which are branched and very large. Flowers many, fragrant, composed of 5 rounded hairy bracts, which are ovate, 4-5 mm long, caducous; pedicles 2-3 mm, velutinous. Sepals orange-yellow, unequal, ovate to suborbicular; 2 outer pubescent, 3 inner glabrous, larger, 5-7 mm long. Petals yellow, spathulate, unequal, broadly to narrowly obovate, 2-3.5 cm long, anthers opening by apical pores and a slit; stamens 7 large and 3 small sterile (staminodes). Pistil slender, curved, hairless; ovary glabrous, recurved; style and stigma inconspicuous.

Fruit cylindrical or flattened pods ending in a short, narrow point, hard, not splitting open or slightly on 1 side; pendulous, more or less terete or slightly compressed, glabrous, glossy, annulate-septate, 18-25 (max. 30) x 1 cm, turning from green to black; with many cross walls about 3 mm or less apart, the seeds in separate compartments. Seeds 2.5 cm each division, 50-70, suborbicular, flattened, brown, about 5 mm in diameter; septae papery.


S. spectabilis is tolerant of cool conditions.

Native range
Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela

Tree management

S. spectabilis is fast growing on good sites and slow growing in dry sites. It has good coppicing ability and 50-year-old trees still coppice. As compared to S. siamea, it is easy to raise and less susceptible to pests and diseases.

Seed storage behaviour is orthodox; under cool dry conditions, seeds can be stored for up to 2 years. There are about 39 000 seeds/kg. Seeds are pretreated by immersing them in boiling water, allowing them to cool and soaking them for 24 hours.

S. spectabilis is tolerant of cool conditions.

Seeds can be sown directly at the planting site, or seedlings can be used.

Apiculture:  Tree provides forage for bees.  

Tree provides firewood and is used to produce charcoal.

Timber:  The sapwood is whitish and the heartwood is brown. It is described as hard, heavy, durable, termite resistant; it is used to make tool handles.

Shade or shelter:  Tree casts a useful shade.

Ornamental:  S. spectabilis is an attractive tree, suitable for planting along small roadsides and in between buildings.

In Uganda, it is widely cultivated as a boundary marker.

Soil improver:  Tree provides mulch.