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Cassia

Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Deciduous, Evergreen, Shrubs, Trees

The genus Cassia once included many yellow-flowered trees and shrubs now reclassified as Senna (see that entry), though some are still sold under their old names. These cassias are showy flowering trees that brighten landscapes in the warmest climates—not just with yellow blooms but also with pink, cerise, and white ones. Flowering dates are approximate, since plants may bloom at any time or bloom intermittently over a long period. Most have long, round seedpods that can present a litter problem. Plant in soil that is well drained. Prune plants when young (to develop a strong framework) and as needed after flowering.

Cassia fistula
Cassia fistula

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Cassia fistula

From India. To 30–40 ft. high and 35 ft. wide. Prized for long, pendent yellow flower clusters borne from spring to fall. Medium green leaves are divided into 4–8 pairs of leaflets. A specimen for garden, park, street planting. Good drought tolerance; flowers best in hot, dry locations. Takes little water.

Cassia leptophylla

Native to Brazil. Open-headed, fast-growing, nearly evergreen tree to 20–25 ft. tall, 30 ft. wide; low spreading with tendency to weep. Very shapely and graceful when pruned to single trunk (otherwise, becomes sprawling). Deep yellow flowers to 3 in. wide come in 6 to 8-in.-long spikes; main bloom appears in summer; sporadic bloom comes later. Little to moderate water.

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