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Products > Senna artemisioides
 
Senna artemisioides - Feathery Cassia
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Fabaceae = Pea Family
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [Cassia artemisioides]
Height: 4-6 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Senna artemisioides (Feathery Cassia) - Feathery, light gray-green pinnate leaves (phyllodes) clothe this evergreen shrub that has a rounded form to 4 to 6 feet tall and perhaps a bit taller if really happy! Clusters of fragrant yellow pea-like flowers bloom year -round with a peak from the late winter through spring and are followed by flattened pea pods that are lime green then dry to dark brown. Plant in full sun in a well-draining soil and irrigate occasionally to very little - a drought tolerant plant and prone to yellowing if overwatered. It is tolerant of near coastal conditions, as well as inland heat and is resistant to predation by deer. Hardy to the low 20's F (to 15 F with some light damage to tips) and useful in USDA Zone 8 and above. With the small size of the leaves this plant lends itself to being sheared or informally pruned after flowering to maintain size and remove developing fruit, which some find unattractive but it really does best just left alone. It is most compact and most attractive in full sun but will grow as a more open and greener shrub in dry shade and is even noted as a good understory of Eucalyptus trees. It is particularly nice planted in groups. This Australian plant comes from northern South Australia across the McDonnell Ranges of Northern Territories east into New South Wales. This plant was long been included with the genus Cassia that Linnaeus authored in 1753 but was more closely allied with the plants in the genus Senna, a genus described by Phillip Miller only a year later; most recent treatment has moved it to Senna but Cassia and Senna are a monophyletic group (a clade) and further work on them may just as well combine them again in the future. The name for the genus comes from Arabic 'san' or 'sany' that was used for a thorn-bush and a herbal used by the Arabian physicians. The specific epithet means "like Artemisia" as its foliage does resemble that of one of the Wormwoods (Artemisia sp.). We grew this great landscape plant for many years, starting in 1980, as Cassia artemisioides and only discontinued because it seemed that enough other nurseries were growing it. More recently we have had customers request that we grow it again and so have put it back into production. The seed from our current crop thanks to Jo O'Connell from plants growing at her Australian Native Plant Nursery in Ojai, California. There are several plants previously treated as individual species that have been reclassified as subspecies of Senna artemisioides such as Cassia helmsii, Cassia oligophylla and Senna sturtii that are floristically similar but lack the fine texture of Senna artemisioides ssp. artemisioides.  This description is based on our research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery and our own landscape plantings and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments we receive from others and appreciate receiving feedback of any kind from those who have additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Senna artemisioides