Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Senna sophera (L.) Roxb.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Herbarium sheet with flowers and fruit. CC-BY: ATH.
Herbarium sheet: flowers and fruit. CC-BY: ATH.

Roxburgh, W. (1832), Flora Indica; or descriptions of Indian Plants, by the late William Roxburgh 2: 347


Shrub to 1.5 m high. Stems densely and finely hairy or hairless.


Leaves compound, alternate. Stipules 2, free, lanceolate, 3-5 mm long. Petiole 1.5-3.5 cm long, densely hairy or hairless. Stalked gland to 2 mm, on petiole between base and first leaflet pair, or rarely at lowest leaflet pair. Leaflets 8-14, opposite, pinnately compound, paripinnate (leaves ending with terminal leaflet pair), upper leaflets largest. Petiolules 1-3 mm long. Leaflet blades narrow-elliptic to lanceolate, 2-6.5 cm long, 5-15 mm wide, base obtuse, margins entire and ciliate, apex acute. Lateral veins 13-20 pairs. Leaflet surfaces and rhachis hairy or hairless.


Inflorescences axillary in upper axils, flowers in umbellate racemes of 4-20 flowers. Flowers bisexual, slightly zygomorphic, 5-merous. Pedicels 1-2 cm long. Sepals imbricate, free, unequal, ovate to elliptic, 2-3 mm long, glabrous or sparsely hairy towards base, green. Petals free, obovate, 8-10 mm long, glabrous, yellow, venation distinct. Stamens 6, staminodes 4; filaments markedly unequal in length, fertile filaments 3-6 mm long, fertile anthers slightly unequal, 3-4 mm long; carpel solitary, long and curved, ovary superior, style curved.


Fruit dry, a pod, semi-cylindrical, 4-10 cm long, curved; seeds many.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Two varieties occur in NEQ, CEQ and southwards to New South Wales. Widespread in open communities, and occasionally on margins of dry rainforest and vine thickets. Senna sophera var. sophera is found from the Rockhampton district (Qld) south to the Sydney area (NSW) and west to the Mundubbera district (Qld). Senna sophera var. 'Forty Mile Scrub' is found from Mt Surprise (N of Cairns) to the Shoalhaven River (NSW), and west to Carnarvon N.P. (Qld) and the upper Hunter Valley (NSW).

Natural History & Notes

Two varieties of this species occur Senna sophera var. sophera and Senna sophera var. 'Forty Mile Scrub', the former is almost hairless on stems, petioles and peduncles with leaflets and leaf rachis hairless except for ciliate margins of leaflets, the latter is densely and finely hairy in comparison. This profile information and associated coding has been adapted from Harden et al. (2014).

Cassia sophera L., Species Plantarum 1: 379. (1753). Type: "Habitat in India."
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