Senna obtusifolia

Senna obtusifolia
"Cassia humilis" redirects here. This taxon may also refer to other species; see below.
Senna obtusifolia
Note the thin, arching, sickle-shaped pods in lower half
Conservation status

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Tribe: Cassieae
Subtribe: Cassiinae
Genus: Senna
Species: S. obtusifolia
Binomial name
Senna obtusifolia
(L.) H.S.Irwin & Barneby

Numerous, see text

Flowering branches

Senna obtusifolia (Chinese Senna or Sicklepod) is a legume in the genus Senna, sometimes separated in the monotypic genus Diallobus. It grows wild in North, Central, and South America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania, and is considered a particularly serious weed in many places. It has a long-standing history of confusion with Senna tora and that taxon in many sources actually refers to the present species.

Its leaves, seeds, and root are used in folk medicine, primarily in Asia. It is believed to possess a laxative effect, as well as to be beneficial for the eyes. As a folk remedy, the seeds are often roasted, then boiled in water to produce a tea. The plant's seeds are a commercial source of cassia gum, a food additive usually used as a thickener and named for the Chinese Senna's former placement in the genus Cassia. Roasted and ground, the seeds have also been used as a substitute for coffee. In traditional Korean medicine, they are called gyeolmyeongja (결명자) and usually prepared as tea. They are also used in Kampō (traditional Japanese medicine) where they are called ketsumei-shi (ケツメイシ, 決明子) or by their Chinese name jué míng zǐ (traditional: 決明子, simplified: 决明子).

This plant is a conspicuous member of the flora of its native home. It evoked powerful images to the celebrated Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu (杜甫), who in one of his "Sighs of Autumn Rain" poems (Qiū yǔ tàn, 秋雨叹) discussed it thus:[1]

In autumn rain, the grasses rot and die, / Below the steps, the Chinese Senna's colour is fresh.
Full green leaves cover the stems like feathers, / And countless flowers bloom like golden coins.
The cold wind, moaning, blows against you fiercely, / I fear that soon you'll find it hard to stand.

Upstairs the scholar lets down his white hair, / He faces the wind, breathes the fragrance, and weeps.


Names, taxonomy & identifier

Apart from "sicklepod" and Chinese senna", S. obtusifolia has a wide range of common names. It is also known in English as Foetid Sassia (or "cassia"), Sickle Senna, Coffeeweed or Arsenic Weed, and somewhat ambiguously as "blunt-leaved senna", "coffee pod" or "java bean". The scientific name means "blunt-leaved senna", with obtusifolia coming from Latin obtus ("dull", "blunt") + folium ("leaf").

Names in its native range are also:


Dried seeds of Senna obtusifolia

Chinese Senna has been treated under a wide range of scientific names. Some are synonyms of Senna obtusifolia, others are names that have been applied to it in error. In addition, several of these names may also refer to related plants. In particular, the distinction between this species and Senna tora was fraught with errors and misunderstandings:[2]

  • Cassia humilis Collad.
Cassia humilis Steud. is a synonym of Chamaecrista kunthiana
Cassia numilis Collad. is apparently a misprint and refers to Senna tora
  • Cassia obtusifolia L.
  • Cassia tora auct. non L.
Cassia tora L. is a synonym of Senna tora
  • Cassia tora L. var. b Wight & Arn.
  • Cassia tora L. var. humilis (Collad.) Collad.
  • Cassia tora L. var. obtusifolia (L.) Haines
  • Cassia toroides Raf.
  • Cassia toroides Roxb.
  • Diallobus falcatus Raf.
  • Diallobus uniflorus Raf.
  • Senna toroides Roxb.
  • Senna obtusifolia - Jue ming zi in Chinese</smal>


  1. ^ Chinese Sighs of Autumn Rain (1). Retrieved 2007-DEC-20.


  2. ^ ILDIS (2005), USDA (2007)


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Senna obtusifolia — bukalapė velniapupė statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Cezalpinijinių šeimos vaistinis augalas (Senna obtusifolia), paplitęs atogrąžose ir paatogrąžiuose. atitikmenys: lot. Senna obtusifolia angl. Java bean; sicklepod; sicklepod senna šaltinis …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • Senna obtusifolia — ID 77511 Symbol Key SEOB4 Common Name Java bean Family Fabaceae Category Dicot Division Magnoliophyta US Nativity Native to U.S. US/NA Plant Yes State Distribution AL, AR, CA, DE, FL, GA, HI, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OK …   USDA Plant Characteristics

  • Senna obtusifolia — noun cosmopolitan tropical herb or subshrub with yellow flowers and slender curved pods; a weed; sometimes placed in genus Cassia • Syn: ↑sicklepod, ↑Cassia tora • Hypernyms: ↑subshrub, ↑suffrutex • Member Holonyms: ↑genus Senna …   Useful english dictionary

  • Senna obtusifolia (L.) Irwin & Barneby — Symbol SEOB4 Common Name Java bean Botanical Family Fabaceae …   Scientific plant list

  • Senna obtusifolia (L.) Irwin & Barneby — Symbol SEOB4 Common Name Java bean Botanical Family Fabaceae …   Scientific plant list

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  • Senna (Gattung) — Senna Geflügelte Senna (Senna didymobotrya) Systematik Eurosiden I Ordnung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Senna (plante) — Senna Senna …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Senna (botánica) — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda ? Senna Ilustración en Koehler s Medicinal Plants 1887 de Senna alexandrina Mill., 1753 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Senna tora — This page is about the Cassia tora described by Linnaeus. Later authors usually applied the taxon to Senna obtusifolia.Taxobox name = Senna tora regnum = Plantae divisio = Magnoliophyta classis = Magnoliopsida subclassis = Rosidae unranked ordo …   Wikipedia

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