Cassia (genus)

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This article is about the legume genus Cassia. For other uses, see Cassia (disambiguation).
Starr 030702-0030 Cassia javanica.jpg
Cassia javanica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Tribe: Cassieae
Subtribe: Cassiinae
Genus: Cassia

Hundreds; see text


Cathartocarpus (partim)

Cassia is a genus of flowering plants in the legume family, Fabaceae, and the subfamily Caesalpinioideae. Species are known commonly as cassias. Cassia is also the English common name of some species in the genus Cinnamomum of the family Lauraceae. Many species of genus Senna were previously included in Cassia.[1] Cassia now generally includes the largest species of the legume subtribe Cassiinae, usually mid-sized trees.


Cassia species occur in a range of climates. Some can be utilized widely as ornamental plants. They have been used in reforestation projects, and species from desert climates can be used to prevent desertification.

Cassia species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of many lepidopteran taxa. For example, the skipper Astraptes fulgerator and the pierids Catopsilia pomona and C. pyranthe are all seen on Cassia fistula. The latter utilizes several other cassias, as well.

The plant pathogenic viruses cassia yellow blotch bromovirus and cassia yellow spot potyvirus were first described from Cassia.


Because the name Cassia is not precise, it is sometimes difficult to know what is meant by references to plants known as "cassias". Cassia gum, for example, is made from Senna obtusifolia, a species formerly included in genus Cassia.

Genera Cassia and Senna are both known in systems of traditional medicine. Cassia fistula, for example, is used in Ayurvedic medicine.[citation needed]

There exists some culinary use for cassias. The fruit of some species is edible. Some have toxins in their seeds, however.

Systematics and taxonomy[edit]

There are hundreds of Cassia species, but it is unclear just how many. One estimate stands at 692.[2] The genus was a wastebasket taxon for a long time, used to classify plants that did not fit well anywhere else. Over 1000 species have belonged to Cassia over the years.[1] Many taxa have since been transferred to more appropriate genera, such as Senna.

Selected species[1][edit]

Formerly placed here[1][edit]

  • Chamaecrista absus (as C. absus L., C. babylonica, C. coccinea, C. exigua, C. foliolis, C. thonningii, C. viscida)
  • Chamaecrista fasciculata (as C. brachiata, C. chamaecrista L., C. chamaecrista L. var. robusta, C. depressa, C. fasciculata, C. fasciculata var. puberula (Greene)J.F.Macbr., C. fasciculata var. rostrata (Wooton & Standl.) B.L.Turner, C. fisheri, C. greenei, C. littoralis, C. mississipiensis, C. pulchella Salisb., C. robusta, C. rostrata (Wooton & Standl.) Tiderstr., C. triflora Jacq., C. venosa Zuccagni) – large-flowered partridge pea, showy partridge pea
  • Chamaecrista nictitans (as C. aeschinomene, C. aspera var. mohrii, C. chamaecrista L. var. nictitans, C. mimosoides L. ssp. leschenaultiana (DC.) H.Ohashi, C. multipinnata, C. nictidans, C. nictitans, C. nictitans var. hebecarpa Fernald, C. procumbens L.) – wild sensitive pea, wild sensitive-plant
  • Senna alata – candle bush, candelabra bush, empress candle plant, candle tree, candlestick tree, ringworm tree
  • Senna alexandrina – Alexandrian senna, Egyptian senna, Tinnevelly senna, East Indian senna
  • Senna artemisioides – silver senna, feathery senna
  • Senna auriculata – avaram senna
  • Senna bicapsularis – rambling senna, Christmas bush, money bush, yellow candlewood
  • Senna corymbosa – Argentine senna, buttercup bush, flowering senna, tree senna
  • Senna covesii – desert senna, Coues' senna, rattleweed
  • Senna durangensis (as C. durangensis Rose) – Durango senna
  • Senna floribunda (as C. floribunda Cav.)
  • Senna garrettiana (as C. garrettiana)
  • Senna hebecarpa – American senna, wild senna
  • Senna hirsuta (as C. caracasana, C. hirsuta, C. leptocarpa, C. tomentosa Arn., C. venenifera)
    • Senna hirsuta var. puberula (as C. longisiliqua Blanco, C. pubescens, C. sulcata sensu Blanco)
  • Senna insularis (as C. absus Sessé & Moc., C. insularis)
  • Senna italica (as C. italica, C. ligustrina Mill., C. obtusa Roxb., C. porturegalis)
    • Senna italica ssp. italica (as C. aschrek, C. italica ssp. italica (Mill.)Spreng., C. obovata) – neutral henna
  • Senna montana (as C. montana Roth., C. setigera)
  • Senna multiglandulosa (as C. albida, C. cana Steud., C. lutescens, C. multiglandulosa, C. tomentosa L.f., C. wightiana)
  • Senna obtusifolia – Chinese senna, sicklepod, foetid senna, coffeeweed, coffeepod, arsenic weed, blunt-leaved senna
  • Senna occidentalis (as C. caroliniana, C. ciliata Raf., C. falcata L., C. foetida Pers., C. laevigata sensu auct. non Prain non Willd., C. macradenia, C. obliquifolia, C. occidentalis, C. occidentalis L. var. arista sensu Hassk., C. occidentalis L. var. aristata Collad., C. planisiliqua) – coffee senna, Mogdad coffee
  • Senna pilosior (as C. bauhinioides var. pilosior, C. durangensis sensu auct. non Rose, C. pilosior)
  • Senna quinquangulata (as C. quinquangulata)
  • Senna septemtrionalis (as C. aurata, C. elegans, C. floribunda auct. non Cav., C. laevigata Willd., C. laevigata Willd. var. floribunda sensu Ghesq., C. quadrangularis, C. septemtrionalis, C. vernicosa Clos)
  • Senna siamea (as C. arayatensis sensu Naves, C. arborea, C. florida, C. gigantea, C. siamea, C. siamea var. puberula Kurz, C. sumatrana) – Siamese senna
  • Senna sophera (as C. atroviridis, C. atropurpurea, C. canca, C. esculenta, C. frutescens, C. geminiflora Schrank, C. linearis, C. lineata Michx., C. occidentalis L. var. glabra DC., C. occidentalis L. var. sophera, C. patula, C. proboscidea, C. sophera, C. sopheroides, C. torosa)
    • Senna sophera var. sophera (as C. indica, C. lanceolata Link)
  • Senna spectabilis
    • Senna spectabilis var. excelsa
    • Senna spectabilis var. micans - sometimes placed in Senna macranthera
  • Senna sulfurea (as C. arborescens Vahl, C. enneaphylla, C. glauca Lam., C. petropolitana, C. sulfurea, C. surattensis auct. non Burm.f., C. surattensis Burm. f. ssp. glauca (Lam.) K.Larsen & S.S.Larsen)
  • Senna surattensis (as C. fastigiata Vahl, C. galuca, C. suffruiticosa, C. suffruticosa, C. surattensis Burm. f.)
  • Senna timoriensis (as C. arayatensis, C. exaltata, C. goensis, C. montana auct. non Roth, C. timorensis, C. timoriensis)
  • Senna tora L. – sickle wild sensitive-plant
  • Senna uniflora (as C. ciliata Hoffmanns., C. monantha, C. ornithopoides, C. sensitiva Jacq., C. sericea, C. uniflora)
  • Senna wislizeni – Wislizenus' senna, shrubby senna

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Genus Cassia". International Legume Database & Information Service. November 2005. Version 10.01. Retrieved December 20, 2007. 
  2. ^ Frodin, D. G. (2004). "History and concepts of big plant genera". Taxon. 53 (3): 753–776. doi:10.2307/4135449. JSTOR 4135449. 
  3. ^ Cassia brewsteri. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).
  4. ^ Cassia fistula. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).