Common Names: Ceylon senna, red cassia
Family: Fabaceae/Leguminosae (bean Family)
tree Attracts Butterflies Flowers
Red cassia is a fairly large "shower" tree with featherlike
pinnately compound leaves and twigs covered with a dense carpet of
fine, soft hairs. The leaves are about 1 ft (0.3 m) long and each
has 15-20 pairs of oblong 2 in (5.1 cm) leaflets. Red cassia
produces clusters of pink, rose or orange flowers in axillary and
terminal, often branched, racemes. The flower petals are about 0.5
in (1.3 cm) long and the conspicuous yellow stamens are
characteristically swollen at their middles. The fruit is a typical
legume: it is cylindrical and indehiscent (does not split open by
itself), 8-12 in (20.3-30.5 cm) long, less than 1 in (2.5 cm) in
diameter, and bears many seeds separated by papery partitions.
Red cassia is native to Sri Lanka and southern India. It is uncommon
in cultivation, especially in the West.
Light: Most of the cassias perform well in full sun or partial
Moisture: Most of the cassias do well in well-drained soils with
Hardiness: USDA Zones 10 - 11. We don't know about red cassia, but
some of the other cassias can be grown in zones 8 and 9 where they
freeze to the ground in winter, but come back in spring.
Propagation: Propagate cassias by seed which should be scarified
and/or soaked overnight before planting.
Use red cassia like the other "shower" trees as a specimen for its
fine-textured foliage and clusters of showy flowers.
The genera Cassia and Senna include more than 500 closely related
species, and plant taxonomists can't seem to make up their minds,
and are forever moving species back and forth. Many of these
attractive legumes are grown as ornamentals. Most have yellow
flowers, like golden shower (Senna pendula). Red cassia is unusual
with its pretty rose colored flowers.