Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

  [   PIER species lists  ]   [   PIER home  ]

Senna pendula
(Willd.) H. S. Irwin & Barneby, Fabaceae
Click on an image for links to BIGGER PICTURES


Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Common name(s): [more details]

English: Christmas senna, climbing cassia

Spanish: valamuerto

Habit:  shrub

Description:  "Scandent or weakly erect, foetid shrubs 2-6 m tall. Leaflets (2) 3-6 (7) pairs, the distal ones larger, broadly to narrowly obovate or obovate-cuneate, (1.8-) 2.2-5.5 (-6.5) cm long, (0.7-) 1-2 (-2.4) cm wide, upper surface green, glabrous, lower surface slightly glaucous, glabrous or sparsely pubescent toward base or along midrib, apex rounded, mucronulate or shallowly emarginate, base obliquely cuneate, petiolar nectaries always between the first and sometimes also second pairs of leaflets, 0.7-2.8 mm long, stipules linear-lanceolate to linear-oblanceolate, 1.5-9 mm long, caducous.  Flowers in racemes 3-30 cm long, pedicels 8-37 mm long, bracts subulate-lanceolate, 1-4 mm long, caducous as pedicels begin to elongate; calyx lobes yellowish to reddish brown, outer ones ovate to elliptic-lanceolate, 3-10 mm long, the innermost obovate to elliptic-suborbicular, 7-15.5 mm long, margins membranous; petals golden yellow to orangish yellow, fading yellow, the standard broadly obovate-flabellate, the others ovate to obovate, the abaxial ones sometimes oblong-elliptic, the longest one 11-26 mm long; staminodes linear-oblanceolate to rhombic-orbicular or inversely deltate, 1.2-4.5 mm long; filaments of 4 median stamens 1.4-4 mm long, those of lateral abaxial stamens dilated, 6.5-20 mm long, that of central abaxial stamen 1.6-7 mm long; anther of central abaxial stamen sterile, fertile anthers dehiscent by U-shaped slits.  Pods pendulous, chartaceous, cylindrical or compressed-cylindrical, straight or slightly curved, often portions sterile and then variable distorted, 7-18 cm long, tardily or not dehiscent, the mesocarp and exocarp separating when fruit fully ripe, the cavity with membranous interseminal septa.  Seeds in 1-2 rows, brown, smooth and glossy or dull, obliquely obovoid, perpendicular to capsule axis, embedded in copious or scanty pulp, 4.1-6.6 mm long, without an areole"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 701).

Var. advena:  "Differs from other varieties by the long anthers abruptly constricted into a beak as long as or longer than the diameter of the pore, styles 5-8 mm long, obdeltate staminodes, the longest sepal 9.5-13 mm long, longest petal 12-16 mm long, and cylindrical plods 8-15 cm long, with 2 rows of seeds"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 701).

Habitat/ecology:  "Woodland, riparian habitats, tropical hammocks, coastal beaches.  This is a variable species, belonging to a complex with numerous varieties.  It is a fast growing plant often becoming established in openings of hammocks and climbing over the adjacent canopies, suppressing the growth of native species and displacing them.  It is quite salt tolerant and grows well in sandy soils.  The plant resprouts from the base after damage"  (Weber, 2003; p. 401).

In Hawai‘i, "cultivated and naturalized at low elevations often in dry, disturbed areas, 15-670 m"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 701); "forms dense stands in pastures and other disturbed areas; seems to be more of a problem in drier areas"  (Motooka et al., 2003).  In Queensland, Australia, "naturalized in highly disturbed urban bushland and farmland, primarily along roadsides and the banks of watercourses"  (Csurhes & Edwards, 1998; p. 130).

Propagation:  Seed.  "Seed production is prolific and the long-lived seeds are dispersed by water and soil movement"  (Weber, 2003; p. 401).

Native range:  New World tropics and subtropics (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 701).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 701)
Var. advena
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 701)
Var. advena
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 701)
Var. advena
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 701)
Var. advena
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 701)
Var. advena
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 701)
Var. advena
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
New South Wales introduced
invasive
cultivated
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 130)
Australia
Australia (continental)
New South Wales introduced
invasive
cultivated
Australian Biological Resources Study (2013)
Var. glabrata (Vogel) H.S. Irwin & Barneby
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
cultivated
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 130)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
cultivated
Australian Biological Resources Study (2013)
Var. glabrata (Vogel) H.S. Irwin & Barneby
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 79)
Cultivated only
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (California)   U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
United States (other states)   U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
Arizona, Texas
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida)   U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)

Comments:  Planting of this species is prohibited in Miami-Dade County, Florida (U.S.) (Miami-Dade County Dept. of Planning and Zoning, 2010).

Control: 

Physical:   "Seedlings and smaller plants can be removed manually" (Weber, 2003; p. 401).

Chemical:  "Larger plants are cut and the cut stumps treated with herbicide.  Foliar sprays are most effective on seedlings and on fresh regrowth"  (Weber, 2003; p. 401).  "Based on work with other sennas, probably sensitive to dicamba and triclopyr and tolerant of MCPA"  (Motooka et al., 2003).


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

  [   PIER species lists  ]   [   PIER home  ]

This page was created on 21 FEB 2007 and was last updated on 4 JUL 2012.