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Pakistan | Family List | Caesalpiniaceae | Cassia

Cassia occidentalis Linn., Sp. Pl. 377. 1753. Baker in Hook. f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 2: 262. 1878; Ali & S. Quraishi in S.U. Sci. Res. J. 3: 7. 1967; Brenan in Milne-Redhead & Polhill, Fl. Trop. E. Afr. 78. 1967.

Vern.: Kasondi.

An undershrub up to 2 m tall, sometimes an annual. Leaves stipulate, stipules 4-6.5 mm, acuminate, caducous. Leaves 12-20 cm long, a solitary stalked gland present near the base of the petiole, leaflets 3-5 pairs, opposite, petiolule c. 1 mm, lamina 2.5-9 cm long, 1.2-3.3 cm wide, lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate or narrowly to broadly elliptic, apex acute, rounded at the base, glabrous on both the sides, pilose when young. Inflorescence pedunculate, axillary, corymbose raceme forming terminal panicles, peduncle 0.3-0.8 mm, enlarging in infructescence. Flowers yellow, 1.2 cm across, pedicel c. 5-10 mm long, bracteate, bracts .7-1 cm long, ovate, oblique, acuminate, glabrous, caducous, white, tinged with pink. Calyx c. 1 cm long, divided up to base, glabrous, oblong, obtuse, white, tinged with pink. Corolla 1.2 cm long, oblong-obovate, more or less unequal, obtuse, orange veined. Stamens 10, 3 lower longer than 4 lateral stamens, 3 staminodes. Pods 9-12.5 cm long, 7-8 mm wide, slightly falcate, compressed, with transverse septation, sutures thick. Seeds 20-30, ovoid, compressed, 6-6.5 mm long, 5 mm broad, rounded at the tip, subacute at the base, smooth, hard, shining, pale-brown.

Fl. Per.: October-March.

Type: A cultivated plant in Herb. Clifford (BM, Syn.). See Ali & S. Qureshi l.c. also.

Distribution: W. Pakistan (Punjab, Sind); a circumtropical weed, possibly of S. American origin (de Wit in Webbia 11: 256. 1955).

This species is used as green manure in many parts of the world. The seeds are roasted and used as a substitute for coffee in French Africa and Argentina. Leaves, roots and seeds are considered to be medicinally important i.e. as a febriĀ¬fuge, purgative, diuretic and tonic. Leaves and seeds are externally applied as antiperiodic and in skin diseases. Root is said to be effective against snake bite also.


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