Senna artemisioides

Distribution Map
Family: Fabaceae subfamily Caesalpinioideae
Distribution: Found throughout the arid regions of all mainland states except Victoria.
Common Name: Silver cassia.
Derivation of Name: Senna; from which the pharmacuetical product "senna" was made.
artemisioides; like the genus Artemisia....after Artemis the Goddess of the hunt and the moon.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Senna is a widespread genus of about 350 species. About 46 occur in Australia of which about 33 are endemic. Senna and related genera such as Cassia, Labichea and Petalostylis may still be seen classified within the separate family Caesalpiniaceae but it is now more common for these plants to be classified as a sub-family within the widespread family Fabaceae.

Senna artemisioides
Senna artemisioides
Photo: Keith Townsend

Senna artemisioides (formerly Cassia artemisioides) is a small woody shrub to 2m tall with a silvery appearance created by short white hairs on the branchlets and leaves. Leaves are pinnate, 2-4cm long with 4-8 pairs of leaflets. These are narrowly cylindrical, grey green or silvery, 1-4cm x0.2-0.3cm.

Bright yellow flowers about 1.5cm diameter are borne in small clusters in the leaf axils. These are followed by straight, brown pods 4-8cm x 1cm.

This species has been in cultivation for many years and is grown successfully in a wide range of climates. It is particularly suited to most drier areas as long as it is given full sun and good drainage.

Propagation is usually carried out from seed which germinates readily after treatment with boiling water. Cuttings of hardened, current seasons growth should also be successful.

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