Cassia contorta Vogel
Cassia humilis Collad.
Cassia obtusifolia L.
Cassia sunsub Forssk.
Cassia tala Desv.
Cassia tora humilis (Collad.) Collad.
Cassia tora obtusifolia (L.) Haines.
Cassia toroides Raf.
Cassia toroides Roxb.
Chamaefistula contorta G.Don
Diallobus falcatus Raf.
Diallobus tora (L.) B.D.Jacks.
Diallobus tora (L.) Raf.
Diallobus uniflorus Raf.
Emelista tora (L.) Britton & Rose ex Britton & P.Wilson
Senna toroides Roxb.
Common Name: Sicklepod
Sicklepod is very variable in its habit and can be an annual or perennial herb, or a shrub, growing up to 2 metres tall[
The plant is utilized locally for a variety of reasons, particularly as food and medicine, and it is occasionally cultivated for these purposes[
]. The flowers are decorative and the plant is commonly planted as an ornamental near towns[
Along rivers and on lake shores, as well as on cultivated land, at elevations up to 1,700 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
Plants succeed in the tropics and subtropics[
Prefers a deep, well-drained, moderately fertile sandy loam and a position in full sun[
The plant can spread freely and it is considered to be a weed in many parts of the world - for example, an estimated 600,000 ha of land are infested with it in Queensland (Australia)[
Sicklepod is a short-day plant, but exact light requirements for flower initiation differ by provenance[
]. It is self-pollinating and inter-specific crosses have not yielded viable seed[
Sicklepod is closely related to Senna tora, but the latter can be recognized by its shorter pedicels[
]. The distinction between S. Obtusifolia, S. Occidentalis and S. Tora is not always properly made; names have often been misapplied and vernacular names may apply to all of them[
]. The presence of S. Tora in Africa is doubtful and references to it probably concern S. Obtusifolia[
While the wider genetic variation of this plant is found in the New World, there is obvious scope for selection for vegetable use even within the African populations[
]. Farmers already select plants that taste less bitter, are less fibrous and have easy-to-pick leaves[
]. Australia may start a breeding programme based on seed stock collected from all over the area of distribution in the near future[
]. Breeding would aim at high seed and gum yield, good gum quality and adaptation to mechanized cultivation[
In India seeds for gum production are presently harvested from the wild. As far as is known, Senna obtusifolia is only grown commercially in Korea for medicinal uses, with seed yields as high as 2.6 t/ha[
The plant is an alternative host of Alternaria cassiae, which affects crops such as cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) and several Solanum species[
There are conflicting reports on whether or not this tree has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, so it is unclear as to whether this tree fixes atmospheric nitrogen[
The young, tender leaves are occasionally used as a vegetable throughout Africa and elsewhere[
]. Older leaves, if eaten frequently or in large quantities, will cause diarrhoea[
The powdered and fermented leaves are used as a condiment[
]. The fermented leaves can be made into a high protein food, known as 'kawal' in Sudan[
A pale yellowish juice produced in the fermentation process is skimmed off and make into a stew with okra etc[
Roasted seeds have been used as a substitute for coffee[
The leaves are used to make a tea-like infusion[
The seeds are occasionally dried and ground into a powder, which is cooked and eaten as a staple food in moderate amounts[
]. As the seeds are reputedly poisonous, cooking or roasting is deemed necessary to make them safe to eat[
The seeds contain commercially interesting levels of gums[
]. In India they are collected from wild plants for the industrial extraction of gums (galactomannans) for the food industry[
The leaves are anthelmintic, laxative and poultice[
]. They are used to rid the body of parasites and as a treatment against vomiting and stomach-ache[
Externally, they are used to treat skin infections, sores, ulcers and insect bites[
]. A decoction of the leaves is used to treat eye complaints[
The laxative properties of Senna species are attributed to anthraquinones[
The roots are used as a laxative and anthelmintic[
The seeds are eaten, combined with a leaf decoction, to treat conjunctivitis[
A natural pioneer within its native range, where it can rapidly colonize open land in the first stage of it returning to forest[
The seeds, the macerated leaves and the roots provide black, blue, yellow and orange dyes[
A yellow phenolic pigment, cassiaxanthone, has been isolated from the roots of Senna species[
Myrothecium verrucaria, a fungus isolated from sicklepod, is used for control of nematodes in food crops and ornamental plants and is widely tested as a herbicide against weeds like water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), Chenopodium album and Senna obtusifolia itself[
]. Strains of Fusarium oxysporum and Alternaria cassiae were similarly obtained and showed considerable control of Senna species if applied at the pre-emergence stage[
The stems are used to make mats and fences[
Seed - pre-soaking for 12 hours in warm water, or abrading the seed with sand can improve germination rates and reduce germination time[