Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Senna surattensis (Burm.f.) H.S.Irwin & Barneby.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Leaves and flowers. CC-BY: APII, ANBG.
Flowers. CC-BY: APII, ANBG.

Irwin, H.S. & Barneby, R.C. (1982), The American Cassiinae : a synoptical revision of Leguminosae tribe Cassieae subtribe Cassiinae in the New World. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden 35(1): 79.


Shrub or small tree to c. 11 m high. Stems hairy, sometimes sparsely to almost glabrous.


Leaves compound, alternate. Stipules 2, free, linear, 2-3 mm long. Petiole 2-6.5 cm long, channelled, sparsely hairy. Stalked glands present between leaflet pairs, 2-5 per leaf, solitary at lowest pair. Leaflets 8-20, opposite, pinnately compound, paripinnate (leaves ending with terminal leaflet pair), upper leaflets largest. Petiolules 1-2 mm long. Leaflet blades elliptic, oblong to ± obovate, 2.5-10 cm long, 0.8-3 cm wide, base rounded or cuneate, sometimes asymmetric, margins entire, apex rounded or emarginate. Lateral veins 6-12 pairs. Leaflet surfaces and rhachis sparsely hairy to hairless.


Inflorescences axillary in upper axils, flowers in umbellate racemes of 4-10 flowers. Flowers bisexual, slightly zygomorphic, 5-merous. Pedicels 1.5-3 cm long. Sepals imbricate, free, unequal, elliptic, 3-8 mm long, glabrous or sparsely hairy, green. Petals free, oblong-elliptic, 10-24 (-30) mm long, glabrous or sparsely hairy, yellow, venation distinct. Stamens 10, staminodes absent, filaments ± equal, filaments 1-2 mm long, fertile anthers slightly unequal, 5-6 mm long; carpel solitary, long and curved, ovary superior, style curved.


Fruit dry, a pod, flat, 8-15 cm long, straight; seeds many.


 Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to south eastern Queensland. Found in rainforest communities including dry rainforest and vine thickets and often cultivated throughout distribution.

Natural History & Notes

Two subspecies are recognised Senna surattensis subsp. surattensis and Senna surattensis subsp. sulfurea. Although sometimes recognised as separate species they are treated here as subspecies following the Australian Plant Census and Randell & Barlow (1998).
Senna surattensis subsp. surattensis: Leaflet in 12-20 pairs, 2.5-4.5; petals 16-24 mm long.
Senna surattensis subsp sulfurea: Leaflet in 8-12 pairs, 3-10; petals 10-30 mm long.

This profile information and associated coding has been adapted from Harden et al. (2014) and Randell & Barlow (1998).

Cassia surattensis Burm.f., Flora Indica: 97 (1768). Type: "Senna surattensis. Garzin. herb." Holotype (ref. H.S.Irwin & R.C.Barneby, Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 35 (1982) 79.). Cassia fastigiata Vahl, Symbolae Botanicae 3: 57, (1794). Cassia suffruticosa Roth, Novae Plantarum Species praesertim Indiae orientalis: 213 (1821). Type: "HEYNE ex India orientali.". Senna speciosa Roxb., Flora Indica; or descriptions of Indian Plants, by the late William Roxburgh 2: 347, (1832). Cassia glauca var. koenigii Kurz, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Part 2. Natural history 45: 284, (1876). Cassia glauca var. suffruticosa (Roth) Baker, nom. illeg. The Flora of British India 2(5): 265, (1878). Psilorhegma suffruticosa (Roth) Britton & Rose, North American Flora 23(4): 255,(1930). Senna surattensis var. suffruticosa (Roth) H.S.Irwin & Barneby, Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden 25: 129, 209, (1973). Cassia surattensis subsp. suffruticosa, Journal of the Natural History Society of Siam 25: 205, (1974).
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