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Cassia fistula

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Cassia fistula L.

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Common Name: Golden Shower Tree, Golden Shower, Shower Of Gold, Indian Laburnum, Purging Cassia, Rajah Kayu, Pudding Pipe Tree, Bereksa, 猪肠豆, 阿勃勒, 腊肠树

Aptly named the Golden Shower Tree, Cassia fistula has impressive blooms that drape from the crown and will sway gently in the breeze. Beyond the dazzling gold colour that the flowers add to the landscape, this sun-loving tree attracts butterflies and birds, enhancing the biodiversity around us. It is the national tree of Thailand and has gained popularity worldwide.

Name

Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names
Comments
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Medium (16m-30m), Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular, Open
Maximum Height 10 m to 18 m

Biogeography

Native Distribution India, Sri Lanka
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Exotic (Spontaneous (Casual))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Medium-sized tree with irregular crown. Deciduous, tree sheds leaves every 8 - 10 months, especially when flowering.
Foliage Leaves pinnately-compound, consisting of 3 - 8 pairs of opposite leaftlets.
Flowers Bright yellow, fragrant, produced in long pendulous clusters, 30 - 50 cm in length, attractive to insects and butterflies.
Fruits Long cylindrical pods (40-60cm), black and indehiscent when mature. Seeds covered with edible, blackish-brown, pungent-smelling, sticky sweet pulp.
Associated Fauna It is the host plant for Orange Emigrant (Catopsilia scylla cornelia) and Mottled Emigrant (Catopsilia pyranthe pyranthe).
Cultivation Easy to grow. Propgate by seeds or marcotting of large branches. Prefers well-drained soil but tolerates most soil conditions. Long periods of drought induce flowering.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Seeds)
Food (Herb and Spice)
Medicinal ( Nearly all parts of the plant have medicinal properties, used to treat a variety of ailments ranging from pimples, burns, wounds and colds to cancer. Seed pods and leaves used to treat diabetes and liver problems. Pulp from seed pod well-known for its mild laxative properties and used to relieve constipation. )
Timber & Products ( Strong wood used to make cabinets, wheels, posts, mortars and firewood.)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Fragrant (Flowers) (Day)
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm
Thematic Landscaping Golden Garden, Naturalistic Garden
SGMP Treatment

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting, Caterpillar Food Plant, Butterfly Food Plant
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Maintenance Requirements Low
Diseases Mildew, leaf spot, root rot diseases.
Propagation Method Seed, Marcotting

Foliar

Foliage Retention Deciduous
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Compound (Even-Pinnate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse
Typical Foliar Area Microphyll ( 2.25cm2 - 20.25 cm2 ), Mesophyll ( 45cm2 - 182.25 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 2.5 (Tree - Open Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Bark Colour(s) Grey
Mature Bark Texture Smooth
Root Type Underground (Tap Root, Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Flower Texture(s) Thin
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Inflorescence Type Raceme
Flowering Period A Few Times Yearly
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Black
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Smooth
Fruit Type 1 Indehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Pod
Mature Seed Colour(s) Brown
Mature Seed Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Moderate (6-10)

References

References Larsen, K., Larsen, S.S., and Vidal, J.E. (1984) Leguminosae–Caesalpinioideae. In: Smitinand, T. & Larsen, K. (eds) Flora of Thailand. Vol. 4 (1), pp. 1 - 129. Bangkok: The Forest Herbarium, Royal Forest Department. 

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Master ID 1494
Species ID 2787
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 10 August 2022.
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