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Useful Tropical Plants

Senna occidentalis

(L.) Link.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Cassia caroliniana Walter

Cassia ciliata Raf.

Cassia falcata L.

Cassia foetida Pers.

Cassia macradenia Collad.

Cassia obliquifolia Schrank

Cassia occidentalis L.

Cassia planisiliqua Burm.f.

Cassia planisiliqua L.

Cassia plumieri DC.

Ditramexa occidentalis Britton & Rose

Ditremexa occidentalis (L.) Britton & Wilson

Common Name: Coffee Senna

Senna occidentalis
Flowering and fruiting plant
Photograph by: Jason Hollinger
Creative Commons License
Senna occidentalis Senna occidentalis Senna occidentalis Senna occidentalis Senna occidentalis Senna occidentalis

General Information

Coffee senna is a very leafy, malodorous annual to shrubby plant that can grow up to 2 metres tall but is usually smaller[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The plant is often annual, at least in seasonal climates[
451
Title
Flora Malesiana Series 1
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://www.archive.org
Publisher
Nationaal Herbarium Nederiand, Universiteit Leiden branch
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A massive treatment of the plants of the Malaysian Archipelago. Much of it has been made available to download from the Internet
].
The plant is sometimes gathered from the wild for local medicinal use, whilst the seed is sometimes used as a coffee substitute. The plant is sometimes cultivated for medicinal purposes[
692
Title
Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions
Publication
 
Author
Francis J.K. (Editor)
Website
http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/wildland_shrubs.htm
Publisher
USDA; Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestr
Year
2000
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent series of papers, in PDf format, from various authors giving quite detailed information on a range of shrubs growing in the United States and its Territories. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Known Hazards

The foliage is poisonous and generally avoided by livestock[
692
Title
Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions
Publication
 
Author
Francis J.K. (Editor)
Website
http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/wildland_shrubs.htm
Publisher
USDA; Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestr
Year
2000
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent series of papers, in PDf format, from various authors giving quite detailed information on a range of shrubs growing in the United States and its Territories. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
,
451
Title
Flora Malesiana Series 1
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://www.archive.org
Publisher
Nationaal Herbarium Nederiand, Universiteit Leiden branch
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A massive treatment of the plants of the Malaysian Archipelago. Much of it has been made available to download from the Internet

Range

S. America - Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas; C. America - Panama to Mexico; Caribbean.

Habitat

Waste places, often in or near villages, at elevations from sea level to 1,200 metres[
451
Title
Flora Malesiana Series 1
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://www.archive.org
Publisher
Nationaal Herbarium Nederiand, Universiteit Leiden branch
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A massive treatment of the plants of the Malaysian Archipelago. Much of it has been made available to download from the Internet
]. Disturbed sites (particularly fertile ones), river overflow areas, meadows, and forests; at elevations from near sea level to 900 metres[
692
Title
Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions
Publication
 
Author
Francis J.K. (Editor)
Website
http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/wildland_shrubs.htm
Publisher
USDA; Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestr
Year
2000
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent series of papers, in PDf format, from various authors giving quite detailed information on a range of shrubs growing in the United States and its Territories. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
HabitAnnual/Perennial
Height2.00 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Coffee senna has a wide native range from the subtropics of S. America through to southern N. America and the Caribbean. It grows mainly at lower elevations. It favours moister areas in the tropics, in Puerto Rico it grows in areas where the mean annual rainfall is within the range 1,000 - 2,200mm[
692
Title
Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions
Publication
 
Author
Francis J.K. (Editor)
Website
http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/wildland_shrubs.htm
Publisher
USDA; Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestr
Year
2000
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent series of papers, in PDf format, from various authors giving quite detailed information on a range of shrubs growing in the United States and its Territories. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Prefers a deep, well-drained, moderately fertile sandy loam and a position in full sun[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Originally native of the Americas, the plant is widely cultivated through the tropics and subtropics and is commonly naturalized in many areas[
451
Title
Flora Malesiana Series 1
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://www.archive.org
Publisher
Nationaal Herbarium Nederiand, Universiteit Leiden branch
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A massive treatment of the plants of the Malaysian Archipelago. Much of it has been made available to download from the Internet
]. While coffee senna can be a weed of cultivated fields and plantations, it is principally a problem because it accumulates in heavily grazed pastures[
692
Title
Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions
Publication
 
Author
Francis J.K. (Editor)
Website
http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/wildland_shrubs.htm
Publisher
USDA; Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestr
Year
2000
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent series of papers, in PDf format, from various authors giving quite detailed information on a range of shrubs growing in the United States and its Territories. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The plant flowers throughout the year in non-seasonal climates[
451
Title
Flora Malesiana Series 1
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://www.archive.org
Publisher
Nationaal Herbarium Nederiand, Universiteit Leiden branch
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A massive treatment of the plants of the Malaysian Archipelago. Much of it has been made available to download from the Internet
].
The plant has a disagreeable odour when crushed[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].
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[
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].

Edible Uses

The seeds are dried, roasted then ground into a powder and used as a coffee substitute[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
,
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. It is called Mogdad or Negro coffee[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].

Young leaves - steamed and eaten as a vegetable[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
,
398
Title
Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania
Publication
 
Author
Ruffo, C.K.: Birnie, A. & Tengnas, B.
Publisher
Regional Land Management Unit; Nairobi.
Year
2002
ISBN
9966-896-60-0
Description
A very well presented, simple guide to growing and utilizing wild food plants in Tanzania, with line drawings of each plant, a description, habitat and range, non-food as well as food uses, plus basic information on growing the plants.
].

Immature seedpods - steamed and eaten as a vegetable[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Flowers - steamed and eaten as a vegetable[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Medicinal

The whole plant is diuretic, febrifuge, stomachic and tonic[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
]. It is used in the treatment of hypertension, dropsy, diabetes, fevers, biliousness, rheumatism, ringworm and eczema[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].
The plant is boiled and gargled for treating throat troubles[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].
Applied externally, it is pounded and mixed with wood-ash and rubbed on areas of leishmaniasis and eczema[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

The root is cholagogue, emetic and purgative[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. An infusion is used in the treatment of bilious fever, ordinary fever, stomach-ache, and to ease menstruation[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].
A tincture of the root is rubbed onto rheumatic areas[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

A tea made from roots and dried flowers is used as a treatment for colds and upset stomach[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

The leaf is used as a remedy for renal calculi[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. Leaves are made into a tea for treating afterbirth problems, fevers, coughs and colds, headaches, haemorrhage and thrush[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].
An ointment prepared from the leaves is applied as a remedy for ringworm and other affections of the skin[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

The flowers are used in a preparation to reduce stomach acid in children[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

The seed is febrifuge and sedative[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. An infusion is drunk to calm one's nerves, and as a treatment for kidney problems, haemorrhage, worms, and cleaning womb and tubes[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

Extracts of the leaf and seed have shown antibiotic activity[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].
The leaf contains flavonoid glycosides, an anthraquinone, and a bianthraquinone[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].
The seed contains N-methyl morpholine, campesterol and beta-sitosterol glucosides[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Like many species within the family Fabaceae, once they have been dried for storage the seeds of this species may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Some 95% of scarified seeds sown in potting mix germinated between 5 and 36 days after sowing[
692
Title
Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions
Publication
 
Author
Francis J.K. (Editor)
Website
http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/wildland_shrubs.htm
Publisher
USDA; Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestr
Year
2000
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent series of papers, in PDf format, from various authors giving quite detailed information on a range of shrubs growing in the United States and its Territories. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2018-12-16. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Senna+occidentalis>

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