Cassia (legume)

Cassia (legume)

name = "Cassia"

image_width = 240px
image_caption = Apple-blossom Cassia "Cassia javanica" as described by Carolus Linnaeus the Younger
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Magnoliophyta
classis = Magnoliopsida
ordo = Fabales
familia = Fabaceae
subfamilia = Caesalpinioideae
tribus = Cassieae
subtribus = Cassiinae
genus = "Cassia"
genus_authority = L.
subdivision_ranks = Species
subdivision = HundredsVerify source|date=December 2007 , see text.
synonyms ="Cathartocarpus" ("partim")

"Cassia" is a genus of Fabaceae in the subfamily Caesalpinioideae. Commonly called cassias, "cassia" is also the English name of "Cinnamomum aromaticum" in the Lauraceae (from which the spice cassiabark is derived), and some other species of "Cinnamomum". In addition, the genus "Cassia" was for long ill-delimited with regards to the related Cassiinae - especially "Senna" -, many species of which were once placed hereinILDIS (2005)] . As a rule-of-thumb, "Cassia sensu stricto" contains the largest Cassiinae, usually mid-sized trees.

In the Antiquity, "cassia" - "kásia" (kασία), "qəṣi`â" (קסיהVerify source|date=December 2007 ), etc - usually meant certain local or widely traded "Cinnamomum" species. For details, see Cassia#History.

Ecology and uses

Owing to this confusion about which species actually belong into "Cassia", many references to some sort of "cassia" are less than clear; usually it is hard or even impossible if a species of the present genus, of "Senna", or of "Cinnamomum" is meant. "Cassia gum" for example is not made from "Cassia" in the present sense, but from Chinese Senna (sicklepod, "Senna obtusifolia"), formerly known as "Cassia obtusifolia", "C. toroides" and several other taxa in the present genus.

"Cassia" is not infrequently encountered in texts on herbalism and alternative medicine. This is usually "Senna" however; while both genera contain plants with medical properties those of "Senna" seem to be more pronounced (or are simply better-studied). Still, Golden Shower Tree ("C. fistula") is unequivocally identified and considered very potent in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is called "aragvadha" ("disease killer"). It contains elevated quantities of anthraquinones and consequently is mainly useful against gastrointestinal conditions (e.g. constipation or acid reflux) and to still bleeding. While its fruit pulp is considered a mild remedy, the roots are said to be so potent as to render their use dangerous if not supervised by a trained professional.

There exists some culinary use for cassia. The fruit pulp of some is eaten as a refreshing treat - similar to the related tamarind - , though it is important to note that not all species have edible fruit, and at least some have poisonous seed. Of course, as noted above, consuming too much of the pulp even in species in which it is edible is likely to result in fulminant passing of stool. It is not quite clear to what extent "Cassia" leaves are used to brew herbal teas, as is common with those of "Senna". And clearly, both Cassiinae pale by comparison to the effectively global importance of "Cinnamomum aromaticum" bark.

The uncertainty about identities has created considerable confusion in ritual too. The Sprig of Acacia in Freemason symbology in occasionally proposed to be actually a "cassia". Said "cassia" led to the grave of "the Widow's Son" Hiram Abiff, an allegorical master craftsman that cannot be aligned to any real-world geography more closely than the Levant. Some acacia is more often used; the typical "Acacia"s of the region are trees much like "Cassia" in habitus and ecology and thus it is impossible to identify the Sprig even to subfamily rank.

Ecologically, "Cassia" tolerates a wide range of climates and temperatures, though it tends towards loving warmth. This and their showy flowers mane them desirable ornamental plants for parks and gardens. Aridland species are well-suited for reforestation purposes and to provide sources of natural goods and improving soil quality and stemming desertification also.

"Cassia" species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera. These include:
* "Astraptes fulgerator" (Two-barred Flasher) – Occasionally on Golden Shower Tree ("C. fistula"), Pink Shower Cassia ("C. grandis"), and possibly others
* "Catopsilia pomona" (Common Emigrant or Lemon Emigrant) – recorded on Golden Shower Tree ("C. fistula") and probably others
* "Catopsilia pyranthe" (Mottled Emigrant) – caterpillar recorded on Golden Shower Tree ("C. fistula"), Pink Cassia ("C. bakeriana"), "Cassia javanica" (Apple-blossom Cassia "C. javanica" or Roxburgh's Cassia "C. roxburghii") and probably others
* "Endoclita malabaricus"Verify source|date=December 2007
* "Phoebis sennae" (Cloudless Sulphur)Verify source|date=December 2007

The plant pathogenic viruses Cassia yellow blotch bromovirus (Bromoviridae) and Cassia yellow spot potyvirus (Potyviridae, formerly Cassia yellow blotch virus) were first described from "C. pleurocarpa" and "Cassia hoffmanseggi" (a "nomen nudum"?), respectively

ystematics and taxonomy

There are hundreds of "Cassia" species, but the exact number is still not clear. The reason is that "Casiia" was long used as a wastebin taxon for Cassieae in general, most notably "Senna" and "Chamaecrista" with which it makes up the Cassiinae. Those species are more recently moved to more correct placements, but the process is still ongoing due to the high number of species, with more than 1000 named taxa having been described for this genus altogether.

=Selected species=

* "Cassia afrofistula" Brenan – Kenyan Shower Cassia (= "C. fistula" "sensu" Brenan)
* "Cassia aldabrensis"
* "Cassia artensis"
* "Cassia aubrevillei"
* "Cassia bakeriana" Craib – Pink Cassia, Wishing-tree (= "C. bakerana")
* "Cassia brewsteri" (F.Muell.) F.Muell. ex Benth.Verify source|date=December 2007
* "Cassia cardiosperma" F.Muell.
* "Cassia eremophila" Vogel – Desert Cassia
* "Cassia ferruginea" (Schrad.) DC. (= "C. brasiliana" Lam. var. "ferruginea", "C. staminea")
* "Cassia fikifiki"
* "Cassia fistula" L. – Golden Shower Tree, "aehaela-gaha" (Sinhalese), "amaltās" (Hindi and Urdu), "bendra lathi" (Hindi), "bahava" (Marathi), "chahui" (Meitei), "dok khuen" (Thai), "kanikkonna" (Malayalam: Kerala), "khoun" (Lao), "konrai" (Tamil), "rachapruek" (Thai), "rajbriksya" (Nepali)
* "Cassia grandis" L.f. – Pink Shower Cassia (= "C. brasiliana", "C. brasiliana" var. "tomentosa" Miq., "C. brasiliensis", "C. mollis", "C. pachycarpa")
* "Cassia javanica" L. – Apple-blossom Cassia (= "C. bacillus" Gaertn., "C. megalantha")
** "Cassia javanica" ssp. "javanica" (= "C. bacillus" Roxb., "C. fistula" "sensu" Blanco)
* "Cassia × lancasteri"
* "Cassia magnifolia" F.Muell.
* "Cassia × nealii" – Rainbow Shower Tree
* "Cassia notabilis" F.Muell.
* "Cassia oligoclada" F.Muell.
* "Cassia pleurocarpa" F.Muell.
* "Cassia roxburghii" DC. – Roxburgh's Cassia (= "C. javanica" "sensu" Bojer, "C. marginata" Roxb.)
* "Cassia venusta" F.Muell.

=Formerly placed here=

* "Chamaecrista absus" (as "C. absus" L., "C. babylonica", "C. coccinea", "C. exigua", "C. foliolis", "C. thonningii", "C. viscida")
* "Chamaecrista fasciculata" – Large-flowered Partridge Pea, Showy Partridge Pea (as "C. brachiata", "C. chamaecrista" L., "C. chamaecrista" L. var. "robusta", "C. depressa", "C. fasciculata", "C. fasciculata" var. "puberula" (Greene)J.F.Macbr., "C. fasciculata" var. "rostrata" (Wooton & Standl.) B.L.Turner, "C. fisheri", "C. greenei", "C. littoralis", "C. mississipiensis", "C. pulchella " Salisb., "C. robusta", "C. rostrata" (Wooton & Standl.) Tiderstr., "C. triflora" Jacq., "C. venosa" Zuccagni)
* "Chamaecrista nictitans" – Wild Sensitive Pea, Wild Sensitive-plant (as "C. aeschinomene", "C. aspera" var. "mohrii", "C. chamaecrista" L. var. "nictitans", "C. mimosoides" L. ssp. "leschenaultiana" (DC.) H.Ohashi, "C. multipinnata", "C. nictidans", "C. nictitans", "C. nictitans" var. "hebecarpa" Fernald, "C. procumbens" L.)
* "Senna alata" – Candle Bush, Candelabra Bush, Empress Candle Plant, Candlestick Tree, Ringworm Tree, "candletree"
* "Senna alexandrina" – Alexandrian Senna, Egyptian Senna, Tinnevelly Senna, East Indian Senna, "sene de la palthe" (French)
* "Senna artemisioides" – Silver Senna, Feathery Senna
* "Senna auriculata" – Avaram Senna, "avaram", "ranawara"
* "Senna bicapsularis" – Rambling Senna, Christmas Bush, Money Bush, Yellow Candlewood
* "Senna corymbosa" – Argentine Senna, Argentina Senna, Buttercup Bush, Flowering Senna, (Texas) Flowery Senna, Tree Senna
* "Senna covesii" – Desert Senna, Coues' Senna, Rattleweed
* "Senna durangensis" – Durango Senna (as "C. durangensis" Rose)
* "Senna floribunda" (as "C. floribunda" Cav.)
* "Senna garrettiana" (as "C. garrettiana")
* "Senna hebecarpa" – American Senna, Wild Senna
* "Senna hirsuta" (as "C. caracasana", "C. hirsuta", "C. leptocarpa", "C. tomentosa" Arn., "C. venenifera")
** "Senna hirsuta" var. "puberula" (as "C. longisiliqua" Blanco, "C. pubescens", "C. sulcata" "sensu" Blanco)
* "Senna insularis" (as "C. absus" Sessé & Moc., "C. insularis")
* "Senna italica" (as "C. italica", "C. ligustrina" Mill., "C. obtusa" Roxb., "C. porturegalis")
** "Senna italica" ssp. "italica" – Neutral Henna (as "C. aschrek", "C. italica" ssp. "italica" (Mill.)Spreng., "C. obovata")
* "Senna montana" (as "C. montana" Roth., "C. setigera")
* "Senna multiglandulosa" (as "C. albida", "C. cana" Steud., "C. lutescens", "C. multiglandulosa", "C. tomentosa" L.f., "C. wightiana")
* "Senna obtusifolia" – Chinese Senna, Sicklepod, Foetid Senna, Sickle Senna, Coffeeweed, Arsenic Weed, "blunt-leaved senna", "coffee pod", "java bean"
* "Senna occidentalis" – Coffee Senna, Mogdad Coffee (as "C. caroliniana", "C. ciliata" Raf., "C. falcata" L., "C. foetida" Pers., "C. laevigata" sensu auct. "non" Prain "non" Willd., "C. macradenia", "C. obliquifolia", "C. occidentalis", "C. occidentalis" L. var. "arista" sensu Hassk., "C. occidentalis" L. var. "aristata" Collad., "C. planisiliqua")
* "Senna pilosior" (as "C. bauhinioides" var. "pilosior", "C. durangensis" sensu auct. "non" Rose, "C. pilosior")
* "Senna quinquangulata" (as "C. quinquangulata")
* "Senna septemtrionalis" (as "C. aurata", "C. elegans", "C. floribunda" auct. "non" Cav., "C. laevigata" Willd., "C. laevigata" Willd. var. "floribunda" sensu Ghesq., "C. quadrangularis", "C. septemtrionalis", "C. vernicosa" Clos)
* "Senna siamea" – Siamese Senna, "khi-lek" (Thai) (as "C. arayatensis" "sensu" Naves, "C. arborea", "C. florida", "C. gigantea", "C. siamea", "C. siamea" var. "puberula" Kurz, "C. sumatrana")
* "Senna sophera" (as "C. atroviridis", "C. atropurpurea", "C. canca", "C. esculenta", "C. frutescens", "C. geminiflora" Schrank, "C. linearis", "C. lineata" Michx., "C. occidentalis" L. var. "glabra" DC., "C. occidentalis" L. var. "sophera", "C. patula", "C. proboscidea", "C. sophera", "C. sopheroides", "C. torosa")
** "Senna sophera" var. "sophera" (as "C. indica", "C. lanceolata" Link)
* "Senna spectabilis"
** "Senna spectabilis" var. "excelsa"
** "Senna spectabilis" var. "micans" - sometimes placed in "Senna macranthera"
* "Senna sulfurea" (as "C. arborescens" Vahl, "C. enneaphylla", "C. glauca" Lam., "C. petropolitana", "C. sulfurea", "C. surattensis" auct. "non" Burm.f., "C. surattensis" Burm. f. ssp. "glauca" (Lam.) K.Larsen & S.S.Larsen)
* "Senna surattensis" (as "C. fastigiata" Vahl, "C. galuca", "C. suffruiticosa", "C. suffruticosa", "C. surattensis" Burm. f.)
* "Senna timoriensis" (as "C. arayatensis", "C. exaltata", "C. goensis", "C. montana" auct. "non" Roth, "C. timorensis", "C. timoriensis")
* "Senna tora" L. – Sickle Wild Sensitive-plant
* "Senna uniflora" (as "C. ciliata" Hoffmanns., "C. monantha", "C. ornithopoides", "C. sensitiva" Jacq., "C. sericea", "C. uniflora")
* "Senna wislizeni" – Wislizenus' Senna, Shrubby Sennaand many more

ee also

* Sydney Percy-Lancaster



* (2005): [ Genus "Cassia"] . Version 10.01, November 2005. Retrieved 2007-DEC-20.

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