Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Senna spectabilis
(whitebark senna)



Senna spectabilis (whitebark senna)


  • Last modified
  • 25 February 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Senna spectabilis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • whitebark senna
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • S. spectabilis is a medium to large tree from tropical America, listed in the Global Compendium of Weeds as an ‘environmental weed’, ‘garden thug’, and ‘naturalised weed’ (...

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Stand in secondary growth forest.
CaptionStand in secondary growth forest.
Copyright©Rafael T. Cadiz
Stand in secondary growth forest.
TreesStand in secondary growth forest.©Rafael T. Cadiz
Copyright©Rafael T. Cadiz
Branches©Rafael T. Cadiz
Copyright©Rafael T. Cadiz
Leaves©Rafael T. Cadiz


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Senna spectabilis (DC.) H. S. Irwin & Barneby

Preferred Common Name

  • whitebark senna


  • Senna spectabilis var. excelsa (Schrad.) H. S. Irwin & Barneby
  • Senna spectabilis var. spectabilis

Other Scientific Names

  • Cassia excelsa Schrad.
  • Cassia humboldtiana DC.
  • Cassia spectabilis DC.
  • Pseudocassia spectabilis (DC.) Britton & Rose

International Common Names

  • English: calceolaria shower; spectacular senna
  • French: casse remarquable; séné spectaculaire
  • Chinese: mei li jue ming

Local Common Names

  • Belize: pisabed
  • Bolivia: aceitón; aceitón ordinario; carnaval; hediondillo; limoncillo; pacaisillo; pajarilla amarillo; ramo
  • Cuba: algarrobillo; palo bonito
  • Dominica: palo de burro
  • Dominican Republic: bruscón; cañafistol; chácaro; libertad; palo de burro; pela burro
  • Haiti: casse marron; kas mawon (Creole)
  • Kenya: mhomba; momba; mwenu
  • Malaysia: antsoan dilaw; cassia; mhomba; mwenu; Panama-ngu; scented shower
  • Nicaragua: candelillo
  • Philippines: antsoan-dilau; palucheba
  • Puerto Rico: casia amarilla
  • USA: calceolaria shower; yellow shower

EPPO code

  • CASSP (Cassia spectabilis)

Summary of Invasiveness

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S. spectabilis is a medium to large tree from tropical America, listed in the Global Compendium of Weeds as an ‘environmental weed’, ‘garden thug’, and ‘naturalised weed’ (Randall, 2012). The species is extremely fast-growing, flowers and sets seed profusely, and re-sprouts readily when cut (Mungatana and Ahimbisibwe, 2010). In Australia it is considered naturalized, has been recorded as a weed of the natural environment and an escape from cultivation, and is labelled an invasive species, indicating its high negative impact on the environment due to its ability to spread rapidly and often create monocultures (Randall, 2007). In Uganda, the species is considered an invasive alien species with high risk to the native flora (Mungatana and Ahimbisibwe, 2010). In Singapore S. spectabilis has been identified as a casual, spontaneous exotic species that survives outside cultivation but does not form self-replacing populations, and relies on repeated introductions or limited asexual reproduction for persistence (Chong et al., 2009). The species is a cultivation escape in Trinidad and Tobago (Irwin and Barneby, 1982) and is considered an invasive species in Cuba (Oviedo-Prieto et al., 2012).

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 spectabilis

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Until the beginning of the 1980s the Cassia genus was considered to be a very large genus of over 500 species. Bentham (1871) wrote that three groups within the Cassia genus were so distinct from one another that any species can always be unequivocally allocated to one of them; some main distinctions included fruit structure, stamen structure and arrangement, and nodulation (Lock, 1988). However it was not until 1982 that Irwin and Barneby formally separated Cassia into three genera: Cassia L. emend. Gaertner, Senna Miller, and Chamaecrista Moench. Cassia now has only about 30 species, whereas Senna and Chamaecrista comprise about equal numbers of species, about 260 and 270 respectively (Irwin and Barneby, 1982).These three genera are now largely accepted and together make up the subtribe Cassinae. Cassia and Senna differ principally in stamen organization, and in arid areas of Australia, taxonomic distinctions between and within the three genera are blurred by polyploidy, hybridization and apoximis (Lewis et al., 2005). In 1988, Lock presented new names and combinations for the Cassinae species in Africa, noting that “if Cassia were to continue to be used in its broad sense in Africa, there would be several species which would be consistently given different names in different continents” (Lock, 1988). Approximately 80% of the Senna genus’ 260 or so species occur in New World tropical and subtropical areas, extending into warm temperate and rarely into cool temperate areas of both hemispheres with species in Africa, Madagascar, Australia, and a few in southeastern Asia and Pacific islands (Irwin and Barneby, 1982; Lock, 1988; Wagner et al., 2014). 

Identification in historical literature can be difficult due to genus name changes, as well as some of S. spectabilis’ synonyms which include Cassia speciosa Kunth (not to be confused with Cassia speciosa Schrad. =Sennamacranthera var. micans (Nees) H.S.Irwin & Barneby). Isely (1975) described a provisional division of Cassia excelsa from C. spectabilis based on C. excelsa’s more ample flowers and longer pedicels and pods (defined primarily by relatively numerous obtuse leaflets) than C. spectabilis; however, Irwin and Barneby (1982) argue the two species cannot be clearly distinguished, citing the overlap in measurements, and have instead described these differences as two varieties within the species: S. spectabilis var. excelsa is the Brazilian population with generally two or three more pairs of generally smaller and more obtuse leaflets than var. spectabilis and flowers often, but not consistently, larger (Irwin and Barneby, 1982). Also, S. spectabilis var. spectabilis is commonly cultivated, while var. excelsa is rarely cultivated (PIER, 2014).


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Tree to 10 or more metres high, the branchlets usually tomentose when young. Leaves moderately large, an average leaf about 20-foliolate; petiole short, pubescent, eglandular; rachis usually about 2 dm. long, eglandular and otherwise like the petiole; leaflets several to many pairs, lanceolate, 3-8 cm. long and usually about 2 cm. wide, acute apically, obtuse basally, pubescent below, especially along the veins, puberulent to subglabrous above and less dull than below, opposite on the rachis, with 10 or more pairs of prominent lateral veins; petiolules 2-3 mm. long, pubescent. Inflorescence of several terminal or subterminal several-flowered racemes; bracts lanceolate, a few mm. long, caducous. Flowers yellow; sepals 5, obovate-orbicular, markedly unequal, up to 1 cm. long and broad, glabrous to lightly puberulent; petals 5, mostly obovate, markedly unequal, up to 2.5 cm. long and 1.5 cm. broad, subglabrous, venose, short-clawed; stamens 10, 3-morphic; the 3 lowermost the largest, their anthers oblong, about 7 mm. long, short-rostrate apically and dehiscent by terminal pores, the loculi somewhat converging terminally; anthers of 4 median stamens 5-6 mm. long, similar to the 3 lowermost except the rostrum reflexed and the loculi divergent terminally; 3 uppermost stamens markedly dissimilar, more or less rudimentary, the anthers distinctly bilobed, each lobe reniform and dehiscent the length of its outer margin; ovary linear, glabrous. Legume linear, turgid-quadrangular, up to 2 dm. long and 1 cm. wide, transversely multiseptate, tardily dehiscent along one margin (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014).


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S. spectabilis is generally considered to be native to South America and introduced to Central America and the West Indies, eventually naturalizing in many parts, but its pre-Columbian range of dispersal is obscure (Irwin and Barneby, 1982; Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012; PIER, 2014). S. spectabilis var. spectabilis and var. excelsa have differing distribution ranges. Whereas var. spectabilis is native to parts of Colombia, Venezuela, parts of southeastern Bolivia, north Argentina, and Paraguay and discontinuously widespread in parts of tropical North and South America, var. excelsa is widespread primarily in interior east tropical Brazil and coastal Ecuador, although to be expected elsewhere (Irwin and Barneby, 1982). 

In Micronesia, PIER (2014) reports the species as invasive to Nuku Hiva Island, citing Wagner and Lorence’s Flora of the Marquesas database; however Wagner and Lorence (2014) do not specify its invasiveness in the database. PIER (2014) lists the species as an invasive introduction to Singapore, whereas Chong et al. (2009) report it as a casual introduction to the island that has not yet become invasive.

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


BhutanPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
ChinaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-GuangdongPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014Cultivated
-Hong KongPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014Cultivated
-YunnanPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014S. Yunnan
IndiaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
-KarnatakaPresentILDIS, 2014
-RajasthanPresentILDIS, 2014
-SikkimPresentILDIS, 2014
-West BengalPresentILDIS, 2014
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
PhilippinesPresent Planted
SingaporePresentIntroduced Not invasive Chong et al., 2009; PIER, 2014
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
ThailandPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014


AngolaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
BotswanaPresentIntroducedWitt and Luke, 2017
BurundiPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
CameroonPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
Central African RepublicPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
ChadPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
East AfricaPresent Planted
EthiopiaPresentIntroducedWitt and Luke, 2017
KenyaPresentIntroduced Invasive Noordwijk et al., 2004; ILDIS, 2014; Witt and Luke, 2017
MalawiPresentIntroduced Invasive ILDIS, 2014; Witt and Luke, 2017
MauritiusPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014; PIER, 2014
MozambiquePresentIntroducedWitt and Luke, 2017
NigeriaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
RwandaPresentIntroducedWitt and Luke, 2017
South AfricaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
Southern AfricaPresent Planted
TanzaniaPresentIntroduced Invasive Wakibara and Mnaya, 2002; ILDIS, 2014; Witt and Luke, 2017
TogoPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
UgandaPresentIntroduced Invasive Wakibara and Mnaya, 2002; Mungatana and Ahimbisibwe, 2010; ILDIS, 2014; Witt and Luke, 2017
ZambiaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014

North America

MexicoPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-FloridaPresentIntroducedGillman and Watson, 2011
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014; Wagner et al., 2014Reported Invasive only on O’ahu I. Also found on Hawai’i and Maui Is.

Central America and Caribbean

BarbadosPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2014
BelizePresentMissouri Botanical Garden, 2014
Costa RicaPresentMissouri Botanical Garden, 2014
CubaPresentIntroducedIrwin and Barneby, 1982; USDA-ARS, 2014
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedIrwin and Barneby, 1982; USDA-ARS, 2014
El SalvadorPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2014
GuatemalaPresentNativePIER, 2014
HaitiPresentIntroducedIrwin and Barneby, 1982; USDA-ARS, 2014
HondurasPresentNativeILDIS, 2014; PIER, 2014
JamaicaPresentIntroducedIrwin and Barneby, 1982; USDA-ARS, 2014
MartiniquePresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2014
NicaraguaPresentNativePIER, 2014
PanamaPresentNativeILDIS, 2014; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014; PIER, 2014Chiriquí
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedIrwin and Barneby, 1982; USDA-ARS, 2014
Trinidad and TobagoPresentMissouri Botanical Garden, 2014

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014Entre Rios, Jujuy, Salta
BoliviaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014Southeastern Bolivia. Cultivated. Chuquisaca, La Paz, Pando, Santa Cruz, Tarija, Cochabamba
BrazilPresentNativeForzza R et al, 2010; USDA-ARS, 2014Including Caatinga, Cerrado, Mata Atlantica, Amazonia
-AcrePresentNativeForzza R et al, 2010
-AlagoasPresentNativeForzza R et al, 2010
-BahiaPresentNativeForzza R et al, 2010
-CearaPresentNativeForzza R et al, 2010
-GoiasPresentNativeForzza R et al, 2010
-MaranhaoPresentNativeForzza R et al, 2010
-Mato GrossoPresentNativeForzza R et al, 2010
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNativeForzza R et al, 2010
-Minas GeraisPresentNativeForzza R et al, 2010
-ParaPresentNativeForzza R et al, 2010
-PiauiPresentNativeForzza R et al, 2010
-Rio Grande do NortePresentMissouri Botanical Garden, 2014
-SergipePresentNativeForzza R et al, 2010
-TocantinsPresentNativeForzza R et al, 2010
ChilePresentNativePIER, 2014
ColombiaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014Naturalized, cultivated
EcuadorPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2014Cultivated. Guayas, Loja, Los Ríos, Manabí
ParaguayPresentNativeILDIS, 2014; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014Depts Amambay, Central
PeruPresentNativeILDIS, 2014; PIER, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedIrwin and Barneby, 1982; Funk et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2014


AustraliaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentCouncil of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2013
-QueenslandPresentCouncil of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2013Cultivated
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014; Wagner and Lorence, 2014Introduced and cultivated. Marquesas Is: Nuku Hiva I (invasive);.Society Is: Tahiti I; Austral Is: Tubuai I
GuamPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014Cultivated. Ile Grande Terre
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014

History of Introduction and Spread

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S. spectabilis was present in Colombia as of 1832 (recorded as Cassia speciosa Kunth) (Don, 1832). Introduction of the species to the West Indies is uncertain but it was likely to have spread from its native South America some time ago. Specimens from Trinidad and Tobago were collected in 1862 (as Cassia spectabilis DC) (Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2003) and the species was being cultivated in the Royal Botanic Gardens of Trinidad by 1869 (as C. spectabilis) (Prestoe, 1870). By 1879 the species was known to occur in South Mexico, Costa Rica, West Indies and the northern parts of South America (as Cassia spectabilis DC) (Godman et al., 1879). The species must be a relatively recent introduction to Puerto Rico, as it was not included in Bello’s flora of Puerto Rico (Bello Espinosa, 1881). The species is considered by Irwin and Barneby (1982) as a cultivation escape in Trinidad and Tobago and both native and adventive to northern parts of the Orinoco basin, Venezuela, and while found in the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico), it is “common only in Dominican Republic and probably nowhere truly autochthonous”. The lack of collections of S. spectabilis from the West Indies in the US National Herbarium may be indicative of the foreign origin of this species for this region. In Puerto Rico, this species is known from US collections dating from 1954 (US National Herbarium). However it is certainly much more widespread in Puerto Rico than what is currently reported in the literature or herbaria collections; recent fieldwork in Puerto Rico indicates that S. spectabilis is becoming widespread in the southern flanks of the Central mountain range in the area of Salinas and Villalba (Acevedo-Rodriguez, pers. comments). 

The species is thought to have been introduced to Africa by Indian sawmill operators or Europeans for firewood and live boundary marking, as a way to reverse deforestation, desertification and fuelwood shortages; however, the species has since invaded most forestry ecosystems, where it has outcompeted native tree species with its fast colonization and thicket establishments (Mungatana and Ahimbisibwe, 2010). The species was present in Tanzania prior to 1967, when it was intentionally introduced to Mahale Mountains National Park in order to create shade and later cultivated by farmers as living fences to prevent crop damage by animals. It is now recognized as an invasive alien species in parts of Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda (Wakibara and Mnaya, 2002; Witt and Luke, 2017).

Risk of Introduction

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Risk of introduction for this species is very high. The species received a PIER Risk Assessment Score of 11 [a score greater than 6 = reject the plant for import (Australia) and likely to be of high risk (Pacific and Florida, USA)], indicating that it poses a high risk of becoming a serious pest based on current evidence. The species is fast-growing and spreads profusely, traits that maximize its capability to compete with cash crops and native flora (Llamas, 2003). It also forms dense thickets where it spreads, at the expense of other species (PIER, 2014). 

Snapp and Pound (2008) conclude: “this agroforestry species acts as a highly effective weed species and has traits that maximize its ability to compete with cash crops. Promotion of S. spectabilis based on tremendous biomass potential was an insufficient criterion and may have been based on performance-on-research station trials, where soils of high organic matter may not have been representative of smallholder farm environments. Biological review of S. spectabilis and testing on farms revealed the highly competitive nature of this species and its unsuitability as an intercrop species”.


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In Brazil and Ecuador the species grows in coastal areas (Irwin and Barneby, 1982; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014). In Bolivia the species can be found in both the lowlands and the Andes, in habitats ranging from rain forest, semi-deciduous and dry forest, montane forest, and dry valleys (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014). In Peru, the species occurs in disturbed habitats, ranging from Amazonian to coastal areas. In Nicaragua the species is known to grow in wet and dry seasonal forests and secondary forests. In Paraguay the species has been observed in closed forests (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014). The species was originally introduced to parts of Africa as an intercrop/hedgerow species in plantations and cultivated areas (Wakibara and Mnaya, 2002; Mungatana and Ahimbisibwe, 2010).

Habitat List

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Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details
Disturbed areas Present, no further details
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details
Coastal areas Present, no further details

Hosts/Species Affected

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Agroforestry experiments in Kenya showed that while S. spectabilis is useful as hedges for cropping systems, if grown in semi-arid conditions S. spectabilis will out-compete crops for water uptake and suppress crop yields; in the cases recorded, grain yields of maize grown with S. spectabilis or Leucaena leucocephala were reduced by between 39% and 95% (Noordwijk et al., 2004).

Biology and Ecology

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Chromosome count for the species is 2n=14 (IPCN Chromosome Reports, 2014). 

Environmental Requirements

S. spectabilis requires full sunlight, as it does not appear to establish under full canopy forest (PIER, 2014). It requires well-drained soil, has low tolerance for aerosol salt, and can tolerate a range of soil types including moist, clay, sand, loam, slightly alkaline, and acidic soils, reportedly able to flourish even in poor, black cotton soils and can reportedly adapt to alkaline soils (Mungatana and Ahimbisibwe, 2010; Gillman and Watson, 2011). 

In Ecuador the species has been reported to occur at 0-500 m (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014). The species occurs at elevations of 0-2000 m in both Antioquia (Colombia) and Bolivia, and in Antioquia it tolerates environments including “Bosque Húmedo Premontano (premontane humid forest) (bh-PM), Bosque Húmedo Tropical (tropical humid forest) (bh-T), and Bosque seco Tropical (tropical dry forest) (bs-t)” (Flora of Bolivia Editorial Committee, 2014; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014). The species grows at altitudes of 0-500 m in Peru, between 0 and 1000 m altitudes in Panama, and between 0 and 1300 m in Nicaragua (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014).


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Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred 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])

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
25 -30 900 1900

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 10
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 19 22
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 23 32
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 14 17


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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration13number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall8002000mm; lower/upper limits

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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S. spectabilis produces large quantities of seeds which can remain viable for up to three years and do not die easily, allowing the species to spread quickly, as pods burst and disburse seeds when they fall from the plant, and can spread further by water (PIER, 2014). The roots of the species are also known to germinate, and the tree coppices when cut down; thus in agroforestry, the species is propagated vegetatively via cuttings and stump plants (Irwin and Barneby, 1982; PIER, 2014).

Impact Summary

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Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative

Environmental Impact

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S. spectabilis grows rapidly, can dominate other species in the wild, and in cultivated lands out-competes crops, causing a reduction in crop yield and reduction in native flora (Noordwijk et al., 2004).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Rapid growth
  • Rooting
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately


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S. spectabilis has been used for economic purposes. Its wood has been used for furniture, as lumber and construction materials, and to make wood carvings. In China and elsewhere the species is usually cultivated ornamentally, as its flowers are fragrant (Irwin and Barneby, 1982; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014). It has also been used as a hedgerow species in plantations and agricultural systems (Wakibara and Mnaya, 2002; Mungatana and Ahimbisibwe, 2010; PIER, 2014).

S. spectabilis is used in agroforestry as a shade tree and a living fence (Irwin and Barneby, 1982; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014). The species is considered useful for fodder, mulch, fuelwood, and as a source of honey.


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Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98:1192 pp. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution.

Anon., 1960. Silvicultural characters of Cassia spp. and plantation techniques. [Cassia spp. Caracteres sylvicoles et methodes de plantation.] Bois et Forets des Tropiques, No. 70, (43-8). 10 refs.

Bello Espinosa D, 1881. [English title not available]. (Apuntes para la flora de Puerto Rico. Primera parte.) Anal. Soc. Española de Hist. Nat, 10:231-304

Bentham G, 1871. Revision of the genus Cassia. Transactions of the Linnaean Society, London, 27:503-591

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Don G, 1832. A general history of the dichlamydeous plants: comprising complete descriptions of the different orders....the whole arranged according to the natural system. Volume II. London, UK: J.G. and F. Rivington

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Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014. Flora of China. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria.

Forzza R, 2010. List of species of the Flora of Brazil (Lista de espécies Flora do Brasil).

Funk V, Hollowell T, Berry P, Kelloff C, Alexander SN, 2007. Checklist of the plants of the Guiana Shield (Venezuela: Amazonas, Bolivar, Delta Amacuro; Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana). Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, 584 pp

Gillman EF, Watson DG, 2011. Senna spectabilis: Cassia., USA: Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), University of Florida.

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ILDIS, 2014. International Legume Database and Information Service. Reading, UK: School of Plant Sciences, University of Reading.

IPCN Chromosome Reports, 2014. Index to Plant Chromosome Numbers (IPCN), Tropicos website. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden.

Irwin HS, Barneby RC, 1982. The American Cassiinae: a synoptical revision of Leguminosae tribe Cassieae subtribe Cassiinae in the New World. 1982, v + 918 pp.; Memoirs of the New York Botanical Gardens 35, 2 parts

Isely D, 1975. Legumes of the United States. Volume 2. Memoirs of the New York Botanic Gardens, 25(2):1-228

Lewis GP, Schrire B, Mackinder B, Lock M, 2005. Legumes of the world. Richmond, USA: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 577 pp

Llamas AK, 2003. Tropical flowering plants: a guide to identification and cultivation. Oregon, USA: Timber Press

Lock JM, 1988. Cassia Sens. (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae) in Africa. Kew Bulletin, 43:333-342

Maclean RH, Litsinger JA, Moody K, Watson AK, 1992. Increasing Gliricidia sepium and Cassia spectabilis biomass production. Agroforestry Systems, 20(3):199-212; 40 ref

Madulid DA, 1995. A Pictorial Cyclopedia of Philippine Ornamental Plants. Bookmark, Inc., Metro Manilla:214-217

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Links to Websites

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CAB International Forestry Compendium
Catalogue of Seed Plants of the West Indies
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.
USFS Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)


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02/04/2014 Original text by:

Marianne Jennifer Datiles, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

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

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