Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Senna gaudichaudii (Hook. & Arn.) H.S.Irwin & Barneby

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Vine stem bark and vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO

Irwin, H.S. & Barneby, R.C. (1982) Memoirs New York Bot. Gardens 35: 80.

Common name

Climbing Cassia; Gaudichaud's Senna; Senna, Gaudichaud's; Cassia, Climbing


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 2-3 m tall but can grow into quite a large tree-top vine. Vine stem diameters to 5 cm recorded. Sapwood surface corrugated.


Stipules filiform, about 6-14 mm long, caducous. Leaflet blades about 11-32 x 7-19 mm, leaflet stalks about 1-1.5 mm long. About 10-14 leaflets per compound leaf. Leaflet blades increase in size towards the apex of the compound leaf axis. Compound leaf rhachis shallowly channelled on the upper surface. Compound leaf rhachis, petioles, young leaves and terminal buds clothed in pale or yellowish hairs. One or two clavate glands present on the grooved upper surface of the compound leaf axis between the basal pair of leaflets. Lateral veins not particularly obvious, forming loops inside the blade margin.


Petals clawed, 3-veined, about 15-18 mm long. Stamens 10, all fertile, filaments 1-2 mm long occasionally with one longer filament. Ovary curved, sparsely to densely hairy.


Pods flat, about 8-15 x 1-1.5 cm, constricted or compressed between the seeds. Seeds about 4 x 3 mm, +/- shiny black, very hard and difficult to cut. Seeds aligned transversely in the pod. Funicle slender, black. Cotyledons green.


Cotyledons about 9-16 x 9-11 mm. First pair of leaves pinnate, each leaf with about 4-6 leaflets. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf pinnate with about eight leaflets. Leaflet blades +/- elliptic, about 9-15 x 5-6 mm. Stipules filiform, about 3-6 mm long. A conspicuous filiform or narrowly clavate gland present on the upper surface of the compound leaf axis between the basal pair of leaflets. Seed germination time 12 to 67 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to south eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range in NEQ from near sea level to 1000 m. Grows in open eucalypt forest but more commonly found in monsoon forest and rain forest on drier or more marginal sites. Also occurs in Asia, Malesia and the Pacific islands.

Cassia retusa Vogel var. retusa, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 794(1928). Cassia gaudichaudii Hook. & Arn., Botany Beechey Voyage 2: 81(1832), Type: Oahu, Hawaiian Islands, F. W. Beechey s.n.; holo: K. Fide Randell & Barlow (1998). Cassia retusa var. glabrata Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 794(1928), Type: Mungana bei Chillago (DOMIN II. 1910); Port Mackay, A. DIETRICH No. 673 p.p.; Percy Isles A. CUNNINGHAM V. 1819 No. 169 als C. lamprosperma. Cassia retusa Vogel, Linnaea 15: 72(1841), Type: New South Wales: Bustard Bay. [given by de Wit, Webbia 11 (1956) 260-263 as Solander s.n. (holotype in BM).]. Cassia retusa var. dietrichiae Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 794(1928), Type: A. DIETRICH No. 2841 (angeblich vom Brisbane River). Cassia retusa var. typica Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 794(1928), Type: Rockhampton, A. DIETRICH No. 672, 910; Port Mackay, A. DIETRICH No. 673 p.p.
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