1. Family: Fabaceae Lindl.
    1. Cassia L.

      1. This genus is accepted, and its native range is Tropics.

    [FZ]

    Leguminosae, R.K. Brummitt, A.C. Chikuni, J.M. Lock & R.M. Polhill. Flora Zambesiaca 3:2. 2007

    Habit
    Trees or occasionally shrubs, unarmed.
    Leaves
    Leaves paripinnate; leaflets opposite or subopposite; stipules small, usually caducous.
    Inflorescences
    Inflorescence simply racemose, or paniculate; bracts and bracteoles small, caducous or subpersistent.
    Hypanthium
    Hypanthium small, obconical, infilled.
    Calyx
    Calyx lobes 5, equal, imbricate.
    Corolla
    Petals 5, large, yellow or white (pink in introduced species).
    Stamens
    Stamens 10, the three anticous ones long, sigmoidally curved at the base, often swollen near the middle; anthers dorsifixed, dehiscing by basal slits and often also by terminal pores.
    Pistil
    Ovary stipitate, curved; ovules numerous; stigma terminal or subterminal, often recessed forming a stigmatic chamber.
    Fruits
    Pods cylindrical, tardily dehiscent or indehiscent.
    Seeds
    Seeds numerous, without an areole, free in chambers within the fruit or surrounded by pulp.
    [FTEA]

    Leguminosae, J. B. Gillett, R. M. Polhill & B. Verdcourt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1971

    Habit
    Annual or perennial herbs, shrubs or trees, rarely scrambling or climbing, unarmed
    Leaves
    Leaves simply paripinnate or rarely (not in East Africa) modified to simple phyllodes; stipules various; conspicuous glands often present on petiole and/or rhachis; leaflets 1 to many pairs
    Inflorescences
    Inflorescences of racemes varying from elongate and many-flowered to short subumbellate and 1- to few-flowered; sometimes racemes sessile or almost so, so that the flowers appear axillary or lateral and solitary or fascicled; sometimes racemes aggregated into terminal panicles; bracts and bracteoles various
    Flowers
    Flowers normally hermaphrodite, very rarely ⚥ ♀, or ⚥ ♂
    Calyx
    Sepals 5, imbricate
    Corolla
    Petals 5, imbricate, the upper ones often somewhat smaller, yellow, or less commonly pink, red or white
    Stamens
    Stamens usually 10, subequal, or of various sizes with the 2–3 lower longer; sometimes the 1–3 upper reduced and staminodial; rarely stamens only 4–5; anthers basifixed, or sometimes dorsifixed, dehiscing by terminal or basal pores or short slits
    Ovary
    Ovary sessile or stipitate, with several to many ovules
    Fruits
    Pod very variable, cylindrical to flat, rarely winged, indehiscent or dehiscent and 2-valved, woody to coriaceous or membranaceous, with or without septa between the seeds, sometimes pulpy, rarely longitudinally septate
    Seeds
    Seeds transverse, sometimes oblique or longitudinal, usually ± horizontally or vertically compressed, smooth or punctate, sometimes areolate; endosperm present.
    [LOWO]

    Legumes of the World. Edited by G. Lewis, B. Schrire, B. MacKinder & M. Lock. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. (2005)

    Vernacular
    cassia
    Habit
    Trees and arborescent shrubs
    Ecology
    Tropical in a wide range of habitats including rain forest (on terra firme), riverine and gallery forest (including flooded riverbanks and várzea), seasonally dry forest, woodland, wooded grassland (savanna and cerrado), dry scrub, thickets and coastal ev
    Distribution
    circumtropical; 12-13 spp. native in the Americas (mostly of the Amazon Basin but 1 sp. endemic to Mexico, 2 in SE Brazil, 1 in NE Brazil and 2 widespread on either side of the Panama isthmus, including in the Antilles), 10 spp. native in Africa S of the Sahara (2 spp. in Guinea-Congolian, 2 spp. in Sudanian, 2 spp. in Zanzibar-Inhambane and 4 spp. more widespread in Zambezian, Somalia-Masai and Zanzibar-Inhambane regions, one extending into Madagascar); 1 sp. endemic in Madagascar; 1 sp. endemic to Myanmar [Burma] and Thailand; 3 spp. native to India, Sri Lanka and SE Asia are widely cultivated throughout the tropics and subtropics; 2 spp. endemic in Australia (Queensland and New South Wales)
    Note
    Prior to the seminal works of Irwin & Barneby (1981; 1982) most Floras treated Cassia in its broadest sense to include Senna and Chamaecrista; these three genera are now largely accepted and together make up subtribe Cassiinae (Irwin & Barneby 1981; 1982). Cassia differs from the other two genera principally in stamen organisation. Bruneau et al. (2001) found that the three genera did not form a clade, Senna grouping with Cassia, while Chamaecrista was isolated. In the combined molecular-morphological analysis of Herendeen et al. (2003a), Chamaecrista resolved as sister to a clade of Senna species while Cassia grandis L. was basally branching to a large Caesalpinieae-Mimosoideae clade in a position isolated from the Senna-Chamaecrista clade (i.e., agreeing with the findings of Doyle et al., 1997 and Kajita et al., 2001). More recently in Herendeen et al. (2003b) the three genera form a clade, with Chamaecrista sister to the other two (more in line with morphology and nodulation data)

    Tribe Cercideae is basally branching in the Leguminosae (Bruneau et al., 2001; Herendeen et al., 2003a), as predicted by Wunderlin et al. (1981), and Cercis is the most basally branching genus in the tribe. While much taxonomic work has been carried out on the tribe in the past thirty years (e.g., Larsen et al., 1980, 1984; Wunderlin, 1976, 1979; Wunderlin et al., 1981, 1987; Zhang, 1995; Vaz, 2003; Vaz & Tozzi, 2003), few species have been included in phylogenetic analyses and inter- and intra-generic relationships are still largely unresolved with the exception of Cercis (Hao et al., 2001; Davis et al., 2002b).

    Wunderlin (1979) and Wunderlin et al. (1981) divided the tribe into two subtribes, Cercidinae and Bauhiniinae, based on seed, floral and fruit characters. Walpers (1842) had already down-ranked Bauhinieae Benth. (1840) to subtribal status, thus the combination Bauhiniinae (Benth.) Wunderlin (1979) is superfluous. Polhill (1994) kept the Cercideae unchanged with two subtribes and five genera. While the Cercidinae contains three small distinct genera, Cercis, Griffonia and Adenolobus, the Bauhiniinae houses the monospecific Madagascan genus Brenierea and the large, diverse pantropical genus Bauhinia sens. lat. which has been segregated into as many as twenty-six genera by various authors (Wunderlin, 1976).

    While many of the Bauhinia segregates are based on minor morphological differences, others are distinguished morphologically by a suite of characters. Britton and Rose (1930), in their account of the Caesalpiniaceae for the North American Flora, divided Bauhinia into several segregate genera, including Schnella Raddi which here is treated as a synonym of Phanera, but might prove to be distinct as indicated in recent molecular analyses by Forest (unpublished data). Britton and Killip (1936) recognised Schnella as distinct from Bauhinia in Colombia. De Wit (1956), treating ‘Malaysian Bauhinieae’, recognised Bracteolanthus, Lysiphyllum, Gigasiphon, Piliostigma, Lasiobema and Phanera as separate genera and this was largely followed by subsequent flora writers in Africa and New Guinea (e.g., Brenan, 1967; Coetzer & Ross in Ross, 1977; Verdcourt, 1979). Others have retained a more inclusive Bauhinia proposed by Wunderlin et al. (1981, 1987), e.g., Macbride (1943: 207–220) for Peru; Larsen et al. (1980) for the Flora of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam; Larsen et al. (1984) for the Flora of Thailand; Chen (1988) for China, and Larsen & Larsen in Hou et al. (1996) in Flora Malesiana. Zhang (1995) published a morphological cladistic analysis of the series of Bauhinia sens. lat., but few species of Bauhinia have been included in molecular studies. It remains equivocal as to whether Bauhinia sens. lat. is monophyletic, but preliminary molecular results indicate that some elements should be reinstated as distinct genera (Bruneau et al., in prep.; Forest, unpubl.). This runs contrary to the findings of Larsen & Larsen in Hou et al. (1996) who concluded “that Bauhinia in the sense of Linnaeus, Bentham, De Candolle, Taubert and Hutchinson is an evolutionary unit and a very natural genus”. Larsen and Larsen also noted that Bauhinia sens. lat. presents a reticulate pattern of variation across its pantropical range (this apparently conflicting somewhat with its status as a “natural genus”). While this is undoubtedly true if the genus is considered as all-inclusive, recent studies of legume distributions in general (Schrire et al., this volume and 2005) have revealed repeated patterns of generic distribution which appear to be duplicated by at least some of the segregates of Bauhinia. If these segregates are recognised as distinct genera (as several are in this treatment) then the reticulate pattern of variation of Bauhinia is far less pronounced. More sampling at the species level in molecular analyses and more morphological studies are needed across the full pantropical range of Bauhinia sens. lat. before inter- and intra-generic relationships are clearly resolved. In the current account genera that have been recognised as distinct from Bauhinia in at least one flora treatment that post-dates De Wit (1956) have been treated as separate genera, especially where these are supported by the preliminary results from a chloroplast trnL (intron and spacer) sequence analysis (Forest, unpubl.). The reader’s attention is also alerted to the detailed infra-generic division of Bauhinia by Wunderlin et al. (1987) in their reorganisation of the Cercideae which also forms a sound basis for sampling in future studies.

    Palynological studies of Bauhinia (Larsen, 1975; Schmitz, 1977; Ferguson & Pearce, 1986) have all stressed the considerable variation in pollen morphology within the genus sens. lat. and there are clear correlations between pollen exine ornamentation, floral morphology and pollination. It remains to be seen just how closely these correspond to evolutionary relationships of species. Nevertheless, Schmitz (1977) made several new combinations in segregate genera of Bauhinia based on palynological type. These included new names in Lasiobema, Lysiphyllum, Pauletia, Perlebia and Phanera (Pauletia and Perlebia here considered as synonyms of Bauhinia). Zhang (1995), who analysed morphologically the series of Bauhinia proposed by Wunderlin et al. (1987), concluded that while some supraspecific segregates of the genus were supported, none of the subgenera appeared to be monophyletic. Several realignments were proposed.

    The Cercideae as presented here includes 12 genera and (322)–335–(348) species. This treatment differs from Wunderlin et al. (1981, 1987) and Polhill (1994) in that Barklya, Gigasiphon, Lasiobema, Lysiphyllum, Phanera, Piliostigma and Tylosema are considered distinct from Bauhinia. While some of these may well be reincluded in Bauhinia after further study, yet other genera may be reinstated from within Bauhinia. Bracteolanthus, treated as distinct by De Wit (1956), is here included in Lysiphyllum following Wunderlin et al. (1987), while Barklya, considered congeneric with Bauhinia by Wunderlin (1979) and Wunderlin et al. (1981, 1987) is considered distinct following George (1998b) and Forest (unpublished data). The reinstatement of Lasiobema appears least well supported (Forest, unpubl.).

    [LOWO]
    Use
    Four species of Cassia are widely cultivated as ornamentals throughout the tropics and subtropics: C. fistula, C. grandis, C. javanica L. and C. roxburghii DC.; many species have numerous medicinal uses (e.g., C. sieberiana DC., as laxatives and purgatives); C. arereh Delile is used as a fish stupifier; in Malaya C. fistula was once used as a fraudulent substitute for opium, C. roxburghii and C. sieberiana have woods used widely for turnery, carpentry, cabinetry, tool handles, pestles and mortars

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Andaman Is., Angola, Assam, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bismarck Archipelago, Bolivia, Borneo, Botswana, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, Burkina, Cambodia, Cameroon, Caprivi Strip, Central African Repu, Chad, China South-Central, China Southeast, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, East Himalaya, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gulf of Guinea Is., Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jawa, Kenya, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Guinea, New South Wales, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Provinces, Northern Territory, Panamá, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Queensland, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Is., Somalia, South Australia, Southwest Caribbean, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sumatera, Suriname, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad-Tobago, Uganda, Venezuela, Victoria, Vietnam, West Himalaya, Western Australia, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

    Introduced into:

    Cape Verde, Egypt, Galápagos, Hawaii, Iraq, Laccadive Is., Malaya, Maldives, Maluku, Pakistan, Society Is., Sulawesi, Yemen

    Cassia L. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Pennington, T.D. [12340], Peru 53646.000
    Owens, S.J., USA 52811.000
    Heringer, E.P. [2877], Brazil K000841412
    Heringer, E.P. [5833], Brazil K000841413

    First published in Sp. Pl.: 376 (1753)

    Accepted by

    • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne.

    Literature

    Flora of West Tropical Africa
    • Benth. in Trans. Linn. Soc. 27: 503–591 (1871).
    • —F.T.A. 2: 268
    Flora Zambesiaca
    • in Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 35: 1–918 (1982).
    • Irwin & Barneby in Polhill & Raven, Adv. Legume Syst. 1: 97–106 (1981)
    • Gen. Pl., ed. 5: 178 (1754).
    • Sp. Pl.: 376 (1753)
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • L., Gen. Pl., ed. 5: 178 (1754)
    • Sp. Pl.: 376 (1753)

    Sources

    Art and Illustrations in Digifolia
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Science Photographs
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    Legumes of the World Online
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0