Senna obtusifolia (L.) H.S. Irwin & Barneby


Senna obtusifolia plant

Family - Fabaceae

Stems - No info yet.

Senna obtusifolia stem

Leaves - No info yet.

Senna obtusifolia leaf

Inflorescence - No info yet.

Flowers - No info yet.

Senna obtusifolia flowerFlower close-up.

Senna obtusifolia calyxCalyx.

Senna obtusifolia fruitFruit.

Flowering - July - September.

Habitat - Sandy alluvial soil, rocky open ground along streams, roadsides, open and waste ground.

Origin - Native to tropical America.

Other info. - This introduced and weedy species can be found in a handful of scattered Missouri counties. The plant is easy to identify becasue of its big leaflets, big yellow flowers, and sickle-shaped (falcate) fruits.
The seeds of this species were boiled and made into a tea which was used to treat headaches, fatigue, and stomachaches. The seeds are also used as a coffee substitute. A tea made from the fruits was used to treat headaches, herpes, and arthritis. African natives used the leaves to make a protein paste.
A nice lady from Africa sent me an email to let me know that she has been eating S. obtusifolia all her life. She serves it with eggs.
Old synonyms included Cassia obtusifolia, Emilista tora (L.) Britton & Rose and Cassia tora L. (the latter two names were apparently missapplied as C. tora may be a distinct species.)

Photographs taken off Moores Mill Road, Auburn, AL., 8-18-04 and 8-26-04.