Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Senna siamea
(yellow cassia)



Senna siamea (yellow cassia)


  • Last modified
  • 20 February 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Senna siamea
  • Preferred Common Name
  • yellow cassia
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • S. siamea, also still commonly referred to by its old name, Cassia siamea, is a popular forestry and ornamental tree, native to South-East Asia and probably adjacent countries. It has been widely intro...

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TitleOrnamental tree
Copyright©Rafael T. Cadiz
Ornamental tree©Rafael T. Cadiz
TitleFruit and trunk
Copyright©Rafael T. Cadiz
Fruit and trunk©Rafael T. Cadiz
1. tree habit
2. flowering and fruiting branch
3. flower
4. pods
TitleLine artwork
Caption1. tree habit 2. flowering and fruiting branch 3. flower 4. pods
Copyright©PROSEA Foundation
1. tree habit
2. flowering and fruiting branch
3. flower
4. pods
Line artwork1. tree habit 2. flowering and fruiting branch 3. flower 4. pods©PROSEA Foundation


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Senna siamea (Lam.) H.S. Irwin & Barneby

Preferred Common Name

  • yellow cassia

Other Scientific Names

  • Cassia arayatensis Naves
  • Cassia arborea Macfad.
  • Cassia florida Vahl
  • Cassia gigantea DC.
  • Cassia siamea Lam.
  • Cassia siamea Lam. var.puberula Kurz
  • Cassia sumatrana Roxb. ex Hornem.
  • Chamaefistula gigantea G. Don
  • Sciacassia siamea (Lam.) Britton & Rose
  • Senna sumatrana Roxb.

International Common Names

  • English: Bombay blackwood; cassod tree; ironwood; Kassaof tree; kassod tree; kassodtree; pheasantwood; Siamese acacia; Siamese senna; Thai cassia; Thai copper pod; Thailand shower; yellow cassia
  • Spanish: casia amarilla; casia de Siam; casia siamea; flamboyán amarillo
  • French: bois perdrix; cassia
  • Chinese: tie dao mu
  • Portuguese: cásia-do-Siao; cassia-siamesa; cássia-siamica

Local Common Names

  • Bangladesh: minjiri
  • Cambodia: angkanh
  • India: beati; kassod; kilek; manjakonnai; manje-konna; minjori; minjri; ponavari; simaiavari; sima-tangedu; simethangadi; vakai; vakoi
  • Indonesia: johar
  • Indonesia/Java: johar
  • Indonesia/Sumatra: johor
  • Laos: khi lek
  • Lesser Antilles: casse; kas
  • Malaysia: johor; juah; petai belalang
  • Nepal: casia
  • Pakistan: minjri
  • Philippines: robles; Thailand shower
  • Sri Lanka: wa
  • Thailand: khi lek ban; khi lek yai; kilek; phak chili
  • Tonga: kasia
  • Vietnam: mu[oof]ng

EPPO code

  • CASSM (Senna siamea)

Summary of Invasiveness

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S. siamea, also still commonly referred to by its old name, Cassia siamea, is a popular forestry and ornamental tree, native to South-East Asia and probably adjacent countries. It has been widely introduced to other humid tropical climates around the world, and has more recently been noted as naturalised and invasive in Australia (especially the Cape York Peninsula, Queensland), Mexico, the Caribbean (Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico), the Pacific (Fiji and French Polynesia) and Africa. It is very likely that it poses a significant risk of invasion in other countries where it is already present and cultivated, due to its fast growth and prolific seed production.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Fabales
  •                         Family: Fabaceae
  •                             Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
  •                                 Genus: Senna
  •                                     Species: Senna siamea

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The genus Senna (Fabaceae, subfam. Caesalpinioideae) consists of about 350 tropical and warm temperate species of trees, shrubs and herbs. These species were formerly placed in Cassia subgenus Senna (Mabberley, 1997), before it was transferred, along with a number of other Cassia species, to the new genus Senna. The synonym Cassia siamea is, however, still widely used today and this should be noted where searching for information on the species. In comparison with tropical America and Africa, Senna is not widely represented in tropical Asia, with only seven species occur naturally in the region (Sosef et al., 1998). S. siamea is one of most widely-known tree species in the genus.


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S. siamea is a medium-size tree rarely exceeding 20 m in height, more usually 10 to 12 m, but which can attain 30 m under exception circumstances. It has a dense, round, evergreen crown and a short bole with smooth, grey bark, slightly fissured longitudinally (Heinsleigh and Holaway, 1988). It has a shallow root system, which can easily be uprooted by strong winds. Leaves alternate, (10-) 15-30 (-35) cm long, pinnately compound with 6-14 pairs of leaflets which are oblong, 3-7 cm long, 12-20 mm wide, dark green, with midrib ending in a bristle. Flowers are bright yellow and borne in numerous large pyramidal panicles up to 60 cm long at the ends of branches (Heinsleigh and Holaway, 1988), peduncles 15-25 mm long; pedicels 15-20 (-35) mm long; bracts subpersistent, petals (10-) 15-25 mm long, fertile stamens 7 or 10 (with 3 large staminodes); filaments unequal, the lateral abaxial ones 7-12 mm long, the others 2.5-5.5 mm long; anthers subequal, weakly beaked, 5-8 mm long. Pods are flat, 15-25 cm long, soft and ribbon-like when young, brown when ripe, indented between the seeds; there are 20-30 seeds per pod. Seeds are bean-shaped, shiny dark-brown, 8 mm long. There are between 35,000 and 41,000 seeds per kilogram (Sosef et al., 1998).

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Seed propagated


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S. siamea was thought to be indigenous to southern India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and, parts of Indonesia, with a native range between 25°N and 5°S. USDA-ARS (2007) has a more restricted native distribution, including only mainland South-East Asia, with Vietnam, whereas ILDIS (2007) also treats India as and Vietnam as parts of the introduced range as well as Cambodia, but does include China, Sri Lanka and Indonesia in the native range. Although there is clearly no agreement as to the exact limits of the native range, the ILDIS (2007) description is adopted here.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes


BangladeshPresentIntroduced Natural ILDIS, 2007
Brunei DarussalamPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2007
CambodiaPresentIntroduced Natural ILDIS, 2007
ChinaPresentNativeILDIS, 2007
-Hong KongPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2007
IndiaPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-Andhra PradeshPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
-Arunachal PradeshPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-AssamPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-BiharPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
-DelhiPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-GoaPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-GujaratPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
-HaryanaPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-Himachal PradeshPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-Indian PunjabPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-Jammu and KashmirPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-KarnatakaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
-KeralaPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-Madhya PradeshPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
-MaharashtraPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
-ManipurPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2007
-MeghalayaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
-MizoramPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-NagalandPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-OdishaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
-RajasthanPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
-SikkimPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroduced Not invasive Natural ILDIS, 2007
-TripuraPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-Uttar PradeshPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
-West BengalPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
IndonesiaPresentNative Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-JavaPresentNative Not invasive Planted, NaturalILDIS, 2007
-KalimantanPresentNative Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
-SulawesiPresentNative Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-SumatraPresentNative Not invasive Natural ILDIS, 2007
JapanPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
LaosPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
MalaysiaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Natural ILDIS, 2007
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentNative Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
MaldivesPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
MyanmarPresentNative Not invasive Planted, NaturalILDIS, 2007
NepalPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
PakistanPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
PhilippinesPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
SingaporePresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
Sri LankaPresentNative Not invasive Natural ILDIS, 2007
TaiwanPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
ThailandPresentNative Not invasive Natural ILDIS, 2007
VietnamPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007


AngolaPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
BeninPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
BotswanaPresentIntroducedWitt and Luke, 2017
CameroonPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
ChadPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
ComorosPresentIntroduced Not invasive Missouri Botanical Garden, 2007
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
Côte d'IvoirePresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
DjiboutiPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
EthiopiaPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
GhanaPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
KenyaPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted CABI, 2005; Witt and Luke, 2017
LiberiaPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
MadagascarPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
MalawiPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2007; Witt and Luke, 2017Recorded as both invasive and not invasive by difference sources
MaliPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
MauritiusPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
MozambiquePresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
NigerPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
NigeriaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
RéunionPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
RwandaPresentIntroduced Invasive Witt and Luke, 2017
SenegalPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
Sierra LeonePresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
South AfricaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
SudanPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
SwazilandPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
TanzaniaPresentIntroduced Planted Missouri Botanical Garden, 2007; Witt and Luke, 2017Recorded as both invasive and not invasive by difference sources
TogoPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007
UgandaPresentIntroduced Planted ILDIS, 2007; Witt and Luke, 2017Recorded as both invasive and not invasive by difference sources
ZambiaPresentIntroduced Planted ILDIS, 2007; Witt and Luke, 2017
ZimbabwePresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted ILDIS, 2007

North America

MexicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Conabio, 2007; ILDIS, 2007
USAPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-FloridaPresent Planted CABI, 2005
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced1865 Invasive ILDIS, 2007; PIER, 2007; PIER, 2013

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2013
BahamasPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
BarbadosWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
BelizePresentIntroduced Not invasive Missouri Botanical Garden, 2007
CaribbeanPresent Planted
CubaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
DominicaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2013
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroduced Invasive Kairo et al., 2003; ILDIS, 2007
El SalvadorPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
GuadeloupeWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
GuatemalaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Missouri Botanical Garden, 2007
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
HondurasPresentIntroduced Not invasive Missouri Botanical Garden, 2007
JamaicaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2013
MontserratWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
NicaraguaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Missouri Botanical Garden, 2007
PanamaPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Kairo et al., 2003; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2007
Saint LuciaWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2013
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroduced Not invasive Missouri Botanical Garden, 2007
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Missouri Botanical Garden, 2007; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012Tortola

South America

BrazilPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
-AlagoasPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-AmazonasPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-BahiaPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-CearaPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-GoiasPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-MaranhaoPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-Minas GeraisPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-ParaPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-ParaibaPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-PernambucoPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-PiauiPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-Rio de JaneiroPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-Rio Grande do SulPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-RondoniaPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-Santa CatarinaPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
-Sao PauloPresentIntroducedForzza et al., 2012
ColombiaPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007
EcuadorPresentIntroduced Not invasive Missouri Botanical Garden, 2007; PIER, 2007Mainland and Galapagos
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2013Potentially invasive
VenezuelaPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007


CyprusPresent Planted CABI, 2005


AustraliaPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedRoyal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2007
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced Invasive Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2007
-New South WalesPresentIntroduced Invasive Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2007
-QueenslandPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2007; Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2007
-South AustraliaPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced Invasive Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2007As Cassia siamea
-VictoriaPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedRoyal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2007
-Western AustraliaPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced Invasive Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2007As Cassia siamea
Cook IslandsPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2007
FijiPresentIntroduced Invasive ILDIS, 2007; PIER, 2007
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive ILDIS, 2007; PIER, 2007Society Is., Tahiti
GuamPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2007
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007; PIER, 2007Northern Marianas, Yap, Pohnpei
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Missouri Botanical Garden, 2007; PIER, 2007
NiuePresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007; PIER, 2007
PalauReported present or known to be presentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2007
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007; PIER, 2007
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2007
TongaPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2007

History of Introduction and Spread

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S. siamea was introduced widely into many central and northern states of India and also many countries in tropical Africa and the Pacific, originally as an avenue shade tree for roadside planting. It has since been extensively cultivated throughout India, both within forest areas, and also in wasteland afforestation projects, for example in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhaya Pradesh, West Bengal and Gujarat; in these and in other states it has become naturalized. It is planted in degraded and dry areas for rehabilitation of forests and holds promise for reclamation of mined areas (Shyam Lal, 1991). It has also been planted in areas of river valley projects. It has also been introduced into East Asia, Africa and the Americas, and is probably even more widespread than indicated here. However, a record for Cyprus is deemed doubtful, as S. siamea cannot tolerate low temperatures <10°C) and will be killed outright by even the slightest frost. Recorded separately as both Cassia siamea and S. siamea, it is noted as naturalised and invasive in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico (Kairo et al., 2007), Mexico (Conabio, 2007) and Ghana (Haysom and Murphy, 2003). It is particularly invasive on the Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, Australia, and is also noted as invasive in Fiji and French Polynesia (PIER, 2007). For Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, this species was first reported by N. Britton in 1923 as a species “commonly” planted for shade as ornamental.

Risk of Introduction

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Where S. siamea is recorded as invasive in some Caribbean, Indian and Pacific Ocean islands, it scored only a low risk in a weed risk assessment for the Pacific (PIER, 2007).


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S. siamea prefers fertile, moist soils. In northern Queensland, it has invaded forests near towns and is spreading along river banks on the lower Cape York Peninsula, particularly on the Laura River on the lower Cape York Peninsula (PIER, 2007).

Habitat List

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Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural
Coastal areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural

Biology and Ecology

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Reproductive Biology

The plants begin to bear seed annually at the age of 2-3 years. It regenerates naturally by seed, and seeds may lie dormant on the ground for many years until favourable conditions occur for germination. It has spread naturally in the dry deciduous forests of southern India, and is reported to regenerate naturally in West Bengal.

Physiology and Phenology

In India, the trees are never leafless, though a new flush of leaves is produced in February-March. The flowers appear mainly in the hot season, but the flowering period is comparatively long and flowers may appear in other seasons (Troup and Joshi, 1983). In Java, for example, it flowers throughout the year (Backer and Van den Brink, 1963). In Bihar, India, it flowers in September-December and in West Bengal from June to January. The pods ripen towards the end of the hot season and hang in clusters on the tree. Pods are indehiscent. S. siamea is very fast growing, but is short-lived, and old trees are rare. If subject to insect attack, or if grown on shallow or poorly-drained soils, it tends to become stag-headed and less vigorous. Brittle branches are liable to break during rainy periods. It is suitable for both coppicing and pollarding, and these properties, combined with rapid growth, make it suitable for fuelwood production. It coppices vigorously, and continues to yield well over 4 or 5 rotations. Experiments in Tanzania indicated that coppicing gave better results than pollarding in plantations (Troup and Joshi, 1983).


It is now well accepted that although a member of the Fabaceae (legume family), S. siamea does not fix nitrogen through Rhizobium symbiosis in nodules, although there is some evidence that nitrogen-fixing activity may occur in the warty, lenticellate bark (Gutteridge, 1997).

Environmental Requirements


S. siamea is capable of growing under a wide variety of climatic conditions ranging from humid through to arid, but it cannot tolerate low temperatures <10°C) and will be killed outright by even the slightest frost. It has been grown in regions with low rainfall (500 mm in Cyprus) and high rainfall (2800 mm), and can endure a dry season which may last 4 to 6 months. In India, a minimum of 1000 mm rainfall is recommended for good development (Troup and Joshi, 1983). In semiarid environments with mean annual rainfall of 500-700 mm it will grow only where its roots have access to groundwater and where the dry season does not exceed 4-6 months (Hassain, 1999). S. siamea is a strong light demander. When mature, it is drought-resistant, but seedlings cannot withstand prolonged drought, and are also susceptible to fire. In its natural habitat, the absolute maximum shade temperature varies from 24-36°C. It can grow at altitudes of up to 1380 m (Von Carlowitz, 1991). Mean annual temperature is within the range 20-28°C (Heinsleigh and Holaway, 1988). A modified description of climatic requirements (see climatic data table of this data sheet) was prepared by CSIRO (see Booth and Jovanovic, 2000).

S. siamea is not exacting in soil requirements, but prefers moist soils with good drainage (Troup and Joshi, 1983), a soil pH of 5.5-7.5 (Gutteridge, 1997), and is sensitive to poor drainage. In West Bengal, it has been grown in lateric soil after deep soil working. It tolerates denuded shallow soils (Hocking, 1993), but its growth will stagnate in dry areas, with the tree becoming stunted after 4 to 5 years; coppice growth will also be reduced. S. siamea is suitable for use on vertisols, xerosol/calcisols, aerisol/alisols, ferrasols, and nitosol/nitisols (FAO classification). It flourishes on both flat terrain and hill slopes.



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A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Tolerated > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Tolerated Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
B - Dry (arid and semi-arid) Tolerated < 860mm precipitation annually
BW - Desert climate Tolerated < 430mm annual precipitation

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
25 -5 0 1380

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) >10
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 20 28
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 24 36
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 14 22


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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration46number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall5002800mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • shallow

Notes on Natural Enemies

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S. siamea is fairly resistant to termites but is susceptible to scale insects, caterpillars (Eurema blanda) and defoliating insects (Heinsleigh and Holaway, 1988). Some of these pests are: Catopsilia crocale, which defoliates young plants; Xyleutes persona, a bee-hole borer; Indarbelaquadrinotata, a caterpillar which damages bark; Celosterna scabrator, which bores tunnels in the stem and roots; and caterpillars of Labdia sp., which bore into dry pods. In Rajasthan, India, S. siamea is attacked by, and is a host to, cotton thrips (Frankliniella schultzei) and potato thrips (Thrips tabaci), also Megalurothrips distalis and Scirtothrips bispinosus. It is also known to be attacked by the coffee carpenter stem borer (Zeuzera coffeae). Among the fungal diseases, Ganoderma lucidum causes spongy-rot and butt rot. Fomes lucidus is a parasitic wound fungus that invades the tree through the roots, causing a white soft decay in the lower stem. After the tree dies, the blood red sporophore appears. Phaeolus manihotis [Polyporus baudonii] is a serious root disease causing dieback. Dieback in Kenya is caused by the mistletoe Erianthemum ulugurense.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)
Seed pods and seeds are spread by water.
Vector Transmission (Biotic)
It is not known whether birds, mammals or other animals play a role in seed dispersal.
Accidental Introduction
It is unlikely that S. siamea has been, or will be, accidentally introduced.
Intentional Introduction

S. siamea plants spread intentionally and locally for production, shelter and as an ornamental species. They continue to be sold as an ornamental, and promoted as a timber and agroforestry tree, and further introductions may be likely.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Forestry Yes Yes Hassain, 1999
Hedges and windbreaks Yes Yes Hassain, 1999
Ornamental purposes Yes Yes Hassain, 1999

Impact Summary

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Economic/livelihood Positive
Environment (generally) Positive and negative


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Few specific impacts of S. siamea invasion have been identified. It has positive economic and environmental impacts via the production of a high quality timber, fuel, fodder and mulch, and for its use as an agroforestry species, for shade, shelter and soil amelioration. It also has aesthetic value as an ornamental and street tree. Negative impacts include, if used as a timber, contact with the wood shavings can irritate the skin, and that the leaves, pods and seeds are reportedly toxic to pigs. Negative environmental impacts in the countries where it has been reported as invasive have not as yet been described.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of nutrient regime
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - shading
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately


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It is one of the chief afforestation species in the dry zone of the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, producing a good quality durable timber, often used for marquetry and inlay work due to its fine decorative figure, and to make items such as mallets, walking sticks, boxes, joinery and axe handles (Luna, 1996). It can also be used for mine timbers (pit props) and posts, temporary buildings, etc., and can be processed for bleached pulps suitable for writing and printing papers (Razzaque et al., 1970). The timber has a density of 600-1010 kg/cubic metre at 15% moisture content. Trials for timber plantations have been recommended (Gutteridge, 1997; Sosef et al., 1998), particularly as S. siamea could combine timber production with ornamental value. S. siamea can be direct sown successfully. In Tamil Nadu (India), this method of plantation establishment had a higher survival rate (55%) than use of planting stock or stump plants (21-22%) (Troup and Joshi, 1983), but in dry or arid areas, container-grown stock is recommended (Khan, 1961). Sowing can be done in line or patches at a depth of 4 to 5 cm. Seedlings are thinned to a spacing of 30 cm at the end of the first rains and 1.8 x 1.8 m in the following rainy season. S. siamea is very fast growing. In Karnataka, India, a height increment of 2.5 m per year has been recorded, and in 3 years in West Bengal, trees were almost 8 m tall with a stem girth of 25 cm (Luna, 1996). Fuelwood yield ranges from 74 to 198 tonnes per hectare at a rotation of 7 to 10 years, with an annual production of 15 cubic metres/ha (NAS, 1980; Luna, 1996).

S. siamea is also used for erosion control, and in shelterbelts and windbreaks. It has been used to revegetate degraded land and is planted in taungya systems. In Nigeria, it has been used as a planted fallow crop (Ekeleme et al., 2005) and to reclaim abandoned tin-mined areas (Gupta, 1993). It may be used as a shade tree for coffee (Heinsleigh and Holaway, 1988), cocoa and tea (Hassain, 1999), as a nurse crop for for Swietenia mahogani to reduce borer attack, and it is considered a desirable host for the hemi-parasite sandalwood (Santalum album) where spike disease is prevalent as it confers resistance to this disease on the sandalwood tree (Troup and Joshi, 1983). It is a common shade tree in Philippine towns and cities. The major disadvantage of the species is that it has a shallow root system which makes it susceptible to strong winds. S. siamea foliage is used as a green manure for fields, where it can make a significant contribution by slow release of nitrogen to the crop, and reduce weed control problems, as the leaves break down slowly. In some areas, it is intensively lopped as fodder for cattle, sheep, and goats (Hocking, 1993), but there may be problems with anti-nutritive secondary plant compounds (Gutteridge, 1997). An alkaloid in the pods and leaves has been reported to be fatal to pigs (Troup and Joshi, 1983). The flowers are said to be edible (Singh, 1989), and in Thailand and Indo-China, the flowers, young fruits and young leaves are eaten after soaking in hot water to remove toxins, although the taste is bitter (Sosef et al., 1998). The leaves are locally used in Indonesia for treating malaria (Anon, 1986). S. siamea is also a host to the lac insect.

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed
  • Forage


  • Agroforestry
  • Amenity
  • Ornamental
  • Revegetation
  • Shade and shelter
  • Soil conservation
  • Soil improvement
  • Windbreak


  • Charcoal
  • Fuelwood

Human food and beverage

  • Fruits
  • Honey/honey flora
  • Vegetable


  • Dye/tanning
  • Green manure
  • Lac
  • Mulches
  • Wood/timber

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Wood Products

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  • Building poles
  • Pit props
  • Posts
  • Roundwood structures


  • Industrial and domestic woodware
  • Marquetry
  • Tool handles
  • Wood carvings

Prevention and Control

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No specific information on the control of S. siamea has been located. Grazing livestock can severely damage small trees (Heinsleigh and Holaway 1988), and this could be used as a means of reducing infestations. Otherwise, standard hand-pulling of seedling and very small trees would be possible, but as this species is known to coppice readily, roots will also need to be removed. Older trees cut be cut, but either the top portion of the roots would need to be removed, or a chemical stump treatment applied. No known attempts have been made at selecting biological control agents.


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Links to Websites

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gateway source for updated system data added to species habitat list.


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30/08/13 Updated by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

11/01/2008 Updated by:

Nick Pasiecznik, Consultant, France

Distribution Maps

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