Senna pendula (CAESALPINIACEAE) Easter Cassia

Weeds to Whack

Easter Cassia Senna pendula var. glabrata is a native of South America. It invades moist hillsides, creekbanks and disturbed areas. Once favoured as a garden plant, it has become a pest in bushland. It is still commonly found in gardens throughout Brisbane, from where its seed can be carried by birds or by dumping.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Flower

Around Easter it produces masses of bright yellow flowers followed by hundreds of brown, slender seed pods up to 12 cm long each containing 5–10 seeds.
Photo: Mark Crocker

Seed Pods

Easter Cassia belongs to the Caesalpiniaceae family named after Andreas Caesalpini, Italian botanist and chief physician to Pope Clement VIII. In 1583 Caesalpini published De Plantis Libri, one of the first botany books of the Renaissance with a taxonomic system based solely on reproductive structures. Many staunch theologians of the time vigorously denounced sexuality in plants. According to Genesis 1, plants were created on the third day, and not until the sixth day were animals and people created, and the words male and female.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Flower Close-up

Native alternatives include Edge Senna Senna acclinis and Forest Hop Bush Dodonaea triquetra.
Photo: Mark Crocker