Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Senna clavigera (Domin) Randell

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Leaves and Flowers. © A. Ford & F. Goulter
Habit, leaves, flowers and fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Randell, B.R. (1988) Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens 11(1): 39.

Common name

Pepper Leaf Senna


Usually flowers and fruits when about 60 cm high but can grow to a height of 1.5 m.


Stipules +/- triangular, about 1-2 mm long. Leaflet blades about 30-60 x 7-15 mm, the terminal pair largest. About eight leaflets per leaf. Compound leaf rhachis and leaflet stalks sparsely clothed in pale hairs. Compound leaf rhachis and compound leaf petiole channelled on the upper surface. A conspicuous stalked gland visible on the upper surface of the petiole just above its junction with the twig.


Petals about 8 mm long. Stamens ten, six fertile, two large plus four smaller and four staminodes, one long plus three short. Ovary sparsely hairy. Stigma green, recurved.


Pods slightly inflated, about 4-6.5 x 0.5-0.6 cm. Seeds about 3-4 x 2-3 mm, laterally compressed, +/- olive green in colour, about 40-50 per fruit. Embryo yellowish.


Cotyledons obovate, about 13-15 x 10 mm, held +/- vertical and appressed to the stem. First pair of true leaves pinnate, each leaf usually consists of four leaflets, the terminal pair being larger than the basal pair. Stipules linear. At the tenth leaf stage: stipules linear to narrowly triangular, about 3-4 mm long. A single globose gland usually visible on the upper surface of the compound leaf rhachis between the first pair of leaflets. Compound leaf rhachis grooved on the upper surface. Seed germination time 7 to 8 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as south-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 800 m. Usually grows in wet sclerophyll forest but also found in disturbed areas in monsoon forest and vine thickets.

Cassia sophera var. clavigera Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 792(1928), Type: Queensland: A. Dietrich s.n. Holo: PR. Cassia sophera var. pubescens Benth., Flora Australiensis 2: 283(1864), Type: Queensland, Broad Sound, 1802, R. Brown, Bowman; Ottleys Station, Leichhardt; Paramatta Woolls. Lecto: BM. Fide B. R. Randell (1988).
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