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 Senna subsp. var.  
Starr 021203-0027 Senna sp..jpg
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Fabaceae > Senna var. ,

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Senna (from Arabic sanā), the sennas, is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Fabaceae, subfamily Caesalpinioideae. This diverse genus is native throughout the tropics, with a small number of species reaching into temperate regions. The number of species is usually estimated to be about 260, [1] but some authors believe that there are as many as 350. [2] The type species for the genus is Senna alexandrina. About 50 species of Senna are known in cultivation. [3]

Senna species make good ornamental plants and are used for landscape gardening. The wide variety of species and ecological adaptations makes at least a handful of sennas suitable for any climate warmer than cool-temperate.

The following description is rather cursory and based mostly on Irwin and Barneby (1982), [4] but partly on Marazzi (2006) [1].

The sennas are typically shrubs or subshrubs, some becoming scandent when growing into other vegetation. Some are herbs or small trees. Many species have extrafloral nectaries.

The leaves are paripinnately compound, the leaflets opposite. The inflorescence is a raceme, or some arrangement or racemes. The pedicels lack bracteoles.

The flowers produce no nectar. They are buzz pollinated and offer pollen as a reward to pollinators. They are often asymmetric. The petals are 5 in number, similar to each other, yellow, or rarely white.

The stamens may be as few as 4, but usually there are 10. When 10, they occur in 3 sets. The 3 adaxial stamens are staminodial. The 4 medial stamens are smaller than the 3 abaxial stamens. The anthers are basifixed and open by two terminal pores or short slits.

The gynoecium is often enantiostylous; that is, it is deflected laterally to the right or left. This makes the flower asymmetric, but the perianth and the androecium may be asymmetrical as well.

The fruit is a legume, indehiscent or tardily dehiscent.



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Selected species:


Senna glutinosa



  1. 1.0 1.1 Phylogenetic relationships within Senna (Leguminosae, Cassiinae) based on three chloroplast DNA regions: patterns in the evolution of floral symmetry and extrafloral nectaries, 2006, Brigitte Marazzi, Peter K. Endress, Luciano Paganucci de Queiroz, and Elena Conti, American Journal of Botany, volume 93, issue 2, pages 288–303
  2. Barbara R. Randell and Bryan A. Barlow. 1998. "Senna" pages 89-138. In: Alexander S. George (executive editor). Flora of Australia volume 12. Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra, Australia.
  3. Anthony Huxley, Mark Griffiths, and Margot Levy (1992). The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening. The Macmillan Press,Limited: London. The Stockton Press: New York. ISBN 978-0-333-47494-5 (set).
  4. Howard S. Irwin and Rupert C. Barneby. 1982. "The American Cassiinae: A synoptical revision of Leguminosae tribe Cassieae subtribe Cassiinae in the New World". Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden 35.
  5. \
  7. SANTOS, Rogério Nunes dos; SILVA, Maria Goretti de Vasconcelos, and BRAZ FILHO, Raimundo (2008). Constituintes químicos do caule de Senna reticulata Willd. (Leguminoseae) ("Chemical constituents isolated from the wood of Senna reticulata Willd") Química Nova [online], volume 31 issue 8, pages 1979--1981 (in Portuguese). Template:Doi "It is the first report of 1,3,8-trihydroxyanthraquinone and 3-methoxy-1,6,8-trihydroxyanthraquinone in higher plants."

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