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  Senna occidentalis (L.) Link
  Family Name : Fabaceae (Leguminosae)

  Synonyms : Abrus occidentalis, Cassia occidentalis

  Common Names : Antbush, Coffee Senna, Negro-coffee, Stinkingweed, Arsenic Bean, Septicweed, Ponnavarai

Antbush,Coffee Senna,Negro-coffee,Stinkingweed,Arsenic Bean,Septicweed,Ponnavarai
  • Record Info
  • Life Stage & Characteristics
    • Plant Division :
      Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
      Plant Growth Form :
      Lifespan (in Singapore) :
      Perennial, Semi-Annual / Annual-Like, Annual
      Mode of Nutrition :
      Plant Shape :
      Maximum Height :
      0.5 m to 2 m
  • Biogeography
    • Native Distribution :
      Tropical America
      Native Habitat :
      Terrestrial (Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
      Preferred Climate Zone :
  • Description & Ethnobotany
    • Plant Morphology :
      Growth Form: Semi-annual or short-lived perennial subshrub, able to grow up to 1.5 - 2 m tall.
      Foliage: Green leaves with 4 - 6 pairs of leaflets, petiole measuring about 3 - 4 cm long, leaflets measuring 4 - 10 cm long and 2 - 3 cm wide, ovate to oblong, upper surface glabrous, lower surface finely puberulous.
      Stems: Open branching, young stems 4-angled, becoming rounded with age.
      Flowers: 2 - 4 bright yellow flowers in short racemes, usually free- flowering.
      Fruits: Fruit is a flattened, smooth and brown pod, measuring about 10 - 12 cm long and contains 30 - 40 seeds which are flat, measuring 3 - 4 mm wide.
      Habitat :
      Can be found in waste places from sea level up to 1200 m.
      Etymology :
      Genus Senna is derived from the Arabic name "sana", which refers to the laxative leaves and pods. Species occidentalis means from the Western world.
      Ethnobotanical Uses :
      Edible Plant Parts (Edible Seeds)
      Food (Herb & Spice: Seeds roasted and used as coffee substitute.)
      Medicinal (Leaves have antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and laxative properties. Leaves, roots and seeds used as general tonic for general weakness, as well as to treat fever, tuberculosis and liver complaints.)
  • Landscaping Features
    • Desirable Plant Features :
      Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Seeds, Fragrant (Flowers: Time Independent; Foliage; [Remarks]: Crushed leaves give off foetid scent.)
      Plant & Rootzone Preference/Tolerance :
      Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
      Landscape Uses :
      Thematic Landscaping :
      Naturalistic Garden, Butterfly Garden
      Usage Hazards / Cons :
      Toxic Upon Ingestion, [Remarks] (Leaves and large amounts of raw seeds are toxic, implicated in poisoning or death of livestock.)
  • Fauna, Pollination & Dispersal
    • Associated Fauna :
      Caterpillar Food Plant
      Seed / Spore Dispersal :
      Abiotic (Explosive Dehiscence)
  • Plant Care & Propagation
    • Light Preference :
      Full Sun
      Water Preference :
      Moderate Water
      Plant Growth Rate :
      Maintenance Requirements :
      Propagation Method :
      Seed, Stem Cutting
      Propagule Establishment Remarks :
      Scarification (mechanical, acid, boiling) necessary for good seed germination. Scarified seeds germinate in 5-36 days.
  • Foliar
    • Foliage Retention :
      Mature Foliage Colour(s) :
      Mature Foliage Texture(s) :
      Smooth, Raised / Sunken Veins
      Foliar Modification :
      Foliar Type :
      Compound (Even-Pinnate)
      Foliar Arrangement Along Stem :
      Foliar Shape(s) :
      Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate; Lanceolate)
      Foliar Venation :
      Pinnate / Net
      Foliar Margin :
      Foliar Apex / Tip :
      Foliar Base :
      Rounded / Obtuse
      Typical Foliar Area :
      Microphyll ( 2.25cm2 - 20.25 cm2 )
  • Non-Foliar & Storage
    • Stem Type & Modification :
      Root Type :
      Underground (Tap Root)
  • Floral (Angiosperm)
    • Flower & Plant Sexuality :
      Bisexual Flowers
      Flower Colour(s) :
      Yellow / Golden
      Inflorescence Type :
      Flowering Period :
      Flowering Habit :
  • Fruit, Seed & Spore
    • Mature Fruit Colour(s) [Angiosperms & Gymnosperms] :
      Fruit Classification :
      Simple Fruit
      Fruit Type :
      Dehiscent Dry Fruit (Legume / Pod)
      Seed Quantity per Fruit :
      Numerous (>20)
The information given on this website has been compiled from reference works on medicinal plants and/or pron only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Reliance on this information is strictly at your own risk. You should always consult your physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.

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