Senna alata (L.) Roxb.

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Senna alata

Photo: Bart Wursten
Itimbiri River, DRC

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Synonyms: Cassia alata L.
Common names: Candlestick cassia (English) Empress candle plant (English) Ringworm plant (English)
Description: Shrub up to c. 3 m high, sometimes taller. Branchlets olive-brown, finely ribbed. Leaves paripinnate, up to 75 cm long; leaflets in up to 12 pairs, oblong, 6-11 cm long,hairless above, sparsely and minutely hairy beneath; stipules asymmetrically triangular, persistent. Inflorescences in erect axillary dnse racemes, up to 25 cm long. Flowers golden yellow with darker veins; bracts broadly ovate, c. 2.1 cm long, orange, most prominent before the flowers open; stamens 10. Pods 4-winged, 12-16 cm long, shiny dark brown to black.
Notes: Used as a remedy against ringworm and other skin problems.
Derivation of specific name: alata: winged, referring to the pods.
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Native to South America. Widely cultivated in Africa for its medicinal properties and occasionally naturalized.
Growth form(s):
Insects associated with this species:
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Literature:

Brummitt, R.K., Chikuni, A.C., Lock, J.M. & Polhill, R.M. (2007). Leguminosae Subfamily Caesalpinioideae Flora Zambesiaca 3(2) Page 152.

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 265. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Senna alata:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Senna alata
Flora of Malawi: cultivated Senna alata
Flora of Mozambique: Senna alata
Flora of Mozambique: cultivated Senna alata

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Senna alata
African Plant Database: Senna alata
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Senna alata
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Senna alata
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Senna alata
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Senna alata
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Senna alata
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Senna alata
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Senna alata
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Senna alata
Ispot Southern Africa: Senna alata
JSTOR Plant Science: Senna alata
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Senna alata
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Senna alata
The Plant List (version 1.1): Senna alata
Tropicos: Senna alata


Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-19

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2019). Flora of Zimbabwe: Cultivated Plants: Species information: Senna alata.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/cult/species.php?species_id=165030, retrieved 20 July 2019

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