Senna siamea

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Senna siamea
Kassod (Senna siamea) flowers W IMG 0540.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Tribe: Cassieae
Genus: Senna
S. siamea
Binomial name
Senna siamea
(Lam.) Irwin et Barneby
  • Cassia arayatensis Naves
  • Cassia arborea Macfad.
  • Cassia florida Vahl
  • Cassia gigantea DC.
  • Cassia siamea Lam.
  • Cassia siamea var. puberula Kurz
  • Cassia sumatrana Roxb.
  • Cassia sumatrana DC.
  • Chamaefistula gigantea G.Don
  • Sciacassia siamea (Lam.) Britton & Rose S
  • Sciacassia siamea (Lam.) Britton
  • Senna sumatrana (DC.) Roxb.
  • "Pheasantwood"

Senna siamea, also known as Siamese cassia,[1] kassod tree, cassod tree and cassia tree,[2][3] is a legume in the subfamily Caesalpinioideae. It is native to South and Southeast Asia, although its exact origin is unknown.[4]

It is a medium-size, evergreen tree growing up to 18 m (60 ft) with yellow flowers. It is often used as shade tree in cocoa, coffee and tea plantations. In Thailand it is the provincial tree of Chaiyaphum Province and some places in the country are named after it.

Leaves are alternate, pinnately compound, with slender, green-reddish, tinged axis and 6 to 12 pairs of leaflets on short stalks, rounded at both ends.


Kaeng khilek, a Thai curry made with kassod leaves and flower buds
Wood from S. siamea (鉄刀木) is highly valued in Chinese furniture making.

This plant has medicinal value and it contains a compound named barakol. The leaves, tender pods and seeds are edible, but they must be previously boiled and the water discarded. They are used in Burmese and also in Thai cuisine where one of the most well-known preparations is kaeng khilek (Thai: แกงขี้เหล็ก).

In Burmese tradition, during the full moon day of Tazaungmon, Burmese families pick Siamese cassia buds and prepare it in a salad called mezali phu thoke (မယ်ဇလီဖူးသုပ်) or in a soup.[5]

Other uses include as fodder plant, in intercropping systems, windbreaks, and shelter belts.[6] As a hardwood, it is used for ornamentation on instruments (ukuleles and guitars) and decorative products. In this capacity it is known as pheasantwood or polohala, named for the similarity of the grain to pheasant feathers.[7] It is sometimes used in Chinese furniture (known as jichimu) interchangeably with wood from the Ormosia species.[8]

Vernacular names[edit]

  • Burmese: မယ်ဇလီ, mezali
  • Thai: ขี้เหล็ก, khilek
  • Vietnamese: muồng đen
  • Twi: Nkyedua
  • Ewe: Zangara gbe
  • Kiswahili : mhoba

See also[edit]


  1. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Senna siamea". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  2. ^ Nana Garden
  3. ^ "Gaeng Ki Lek: On the Trail of a Curry from Northern Thailand to Suburban KL (Part 2 of 2)".
  4. ^ AgroForestryTree Database
  5. ^ "The merry, marry months start in Myanmar". The Myanmar Times. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  6. ^ Senna siamea - Winrock International Archived 2011-09-26 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Pheasantwood | the Wood Database - Lumber Identification (Hardwood)".
  8. ^

External links[edit]