Form: Rounded shrub.
Leaf retention: Evergreen.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: 6' high and wide. It needs an eight foot diameter space for sufficient
room to grow.
Flowers: Five yellow, cupped petals, growing in clusters, fragrant.
Bloom: Winter to spring.
Fruit: Flat bean pod, green turning to brown. The beans are edible when cooked.
Leaves: Feathery-looking, narrow and linear petioles (leaf stems) that function as
leaves, light green to gray-green, covered in tiny hairs.
Stems: No thorns.
Roots: Nitrogen-fixing*, with a taproot.
Wildlife: The flowers attract butterflies and bees. The seeds attract small birds.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8b-11. It is damaged below 22°F.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to part shade. This plant is greener in part shade.
Water once established: Monthly. The plant may become yellow if overwatered.
Soil: Well drained to avoid root rot, dry, pH 6.6-8.5 (slightly acidic to alkaline).
This plant is saline tolerant. *Do not use a nitrogen fertilizer.
Prune: Lightly, soon after flowering. The fullest bloom occurs when the plant is
allowed to grow "spiky" after spring trimming. New flower buds set in August. Pruning after
August eliminates flowering the following winter. Prune moderately to spur new growth and
to shape. Prune seedpods after flowering if desired. Remove winter damage after the danger
of frost has passed.
Litter: Abundant bean pods.
Propagation: Seed soaked in hot water.
Uses: Ornamental, xeric garden, bird garden.
This plant is a member of the Legume family (Fabaceae). Its former scientific name is
Cassia artemisioides. Another common name is Feathery Senna. This is a colorful, fragrant,
and hardy plant for Southwestern gardens.
Senna phyllodinea, Silver Leaf Senna, is similar. It has wider, flattened petioles that
look like long, narrow and flat leaves instead of being needle-like. It needs full sun
rather than part shade and may become leggy with overwatering. When it receives insufficient
water, or is in a drought situation, some of its leaves will turn slightly yellowish and its
older leaves may drop. It must be protected from rabbits which love the foliage and will
destroy a young plant.
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Latest update: July, 2021.