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Pakistan | Family List | Caesalpiniaceae | Cassia

Cassia senna Linn., Sp. Pl. 377. 1753. ? pro parte excl senna italica.; Brenan in Kew Bull. 13: 243. 1958; in Milne-Redhead & Polhill, Fl. East Trop. Afr. 65. 1967.

Vern.: Senna-i-Makki.

Cassia senna
Illustration

Credit: Asad

  • Cassia angustifolia Vahl

    Suffruticose perennial, up to 90 cm tall. Branches glabrous to subglabrous. Stipules lateral, c. 1.5 mm long, acute. Leaf paripinnate, c. 4.5-11.5 cm long. Leaflets 5-9 pairs, petiolule c. 1 mm long, lamina c. 1.2-4 cm long, c 3.5-10 mm wide, glabrous to sparingly hairy on both sides, lanceolate to ovate, tip acute. Inflorescence termical or axillary raceme, up to 15 cm long. Young flowers covered with c. 7-8 mm long cup-shaped bracts. Pedicel 3-4 cm long. Sepals 5, subequal, 10-13 mm long, c. 6-8 mm broad, spoon shaped or cup shaped, light yellow in colour. Petals 5, subequal, 14-17 mm long, 7-10 mm wide, obovate, shortly claw┬Čed, deep yellow, veins becoming prominent after drying. Stamens 10, upper 3 reduced to staminodes, rest perfect, 2 lower largest. Ovary densely hairy, stipitate. Fruit c. 4-5 cm long, c. 16-22 mm broad, sparsely hairy, turning black at maturity, generally 4-10 seeded; stipe 2-3 mm.

    Fl. Per.: April-June.

    Type: According to Brenan (l.c. 1967), type uncertain, not found in Linnaean or Clifford Herbaria. Senna alexandrina sine folii acutis Morison, Pl. Hist. Univ. Oxon. 2: 201, t. 24/1. 1715, cited by Linnaeus, is clearly C. senna as interpreted in the present sense.

    Distribution: W. Pakistan (Punjab, Sind); India (Bombay, Madras); Algeria; Libya; Egypt, Sudan; Eritrea; Somali Republic and Arabia. It has also been found on the coast of Kenya and Mozambique, but probably as an introduced plant.

    Dried leaves are valued in medicine for cathartic properties and used in biliousness, gout, rheumatism, skin diseases and against intestinal worms. The pods are cathartic.


     

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