Cassia fistula

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Cassia fistula
Golden shower tree.jpg
Golden shower tree in bloom
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Genus: Cassia
C. fistula
Binomial name
Cassia fistula
Synonyms [2]
  • Bactyrilobium fistulaWilld.
  • Cassia bonplandianaDC.
  • Cassia excelsaKunth
  • Cassia fistuloidesCollad.
  • Cassia rhombifoliaRoxb.
  • Cathartocarpus excelsusG.Don
  • Cathartocarpus fistulaPers.
  • Cathartocarpus fistuloides(Collad.) G.Don
  • Cathartocarpus rhombifoliusG.Don
Blossomed golden shower tree Golden shower tree in Malappuram.jpg
Blossomed golden shower tree

Cassia fistula, commonly known as golden shower, [3] purging cassia, [4] Indian laburnum, [5] or pudding-pipe tree, [6] is a flowering plant in the family Fabaceae. The species is native to the Indian subcontinent and adjacent regions of Southeast Asia, from southern Pakistan through India and Sri Lanka to Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand. It is a popular ornamental plant and is also used in herbal medicine.



The golden shower tree is a medium-sized tree, growing to 10–20 m (33–66 ft) tall with fast growth. The leaves are deciduous, 15–60 cm (6–24 in) long, and pinnate with three to eight pairs of leaflets, each leaflet 7–21 cm (3–8 in) long and 4–9 cm (1+123+12 in) broad. The flowers are produced in pendulous racemes 20–40 cm (8–16 in) long, each flower 4–7 cm (1+582+34 in) diameter with five yellow petals of equal size and shape. The fruit is a legume, 30–60 cm (12–24 in) long and 1.5–2.5 cm (916–1 in) broad, with a pungent odor and containing several seeds. The tree has strong and very durable wood, and has been used to construct "Ehela Kanuwa", a site at Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka, which is made of C. fistula (ahala, ehela, or aehaela, ඇහැල in Sinhala [7] ) heartwood. The golden shower tree is not a nitrogen fixer. [8]


Cassia fistula is widely grown as an ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical areas. It blooms in late spring/earlysummer in hot, dry weather. Flowering is profuse, with trees being covered with yellow flowers, many times with almost no leaf being seen. It grows well in dry climates. Growth for this tree is best in full sun on well-drained soil; it is relatively drought-tolerant and slightly salt-tolerant. It will tolerate light brief frost, but can get damaged if the cold persists. It can be subject to mildew or leaf spot, especially during the second half of the growing season. The tree blooms better with pronounced differences between summer and winter temperatures. [9]

Pollinators and seed dispersal

Various species of bees and butterflies are known to be pollinators of C. fistula flowers, especially carpenter bees (Xylocopa sp.). [10] In 1911, Robert Scott Troup conducted an experiment to determine how the seeds of C. fistula are dispersed. He found that golden jackals feed on the fruits and help in seed dispersal. [11]



In India, flowers of the golden shower tree are sometimes eaten by people. The leaves have also been used to supplement the diets of cattle, sheep, and goats fed with low-quality forages. [12]


In Ayurvedic medicine, the golden shower tree is known as aragvadha, meaning "disease killer". The fruit pulp is considered a purgative, [13] [14] and self-medication or any use without medical supervision is strongly advised against in Ayurvedic texts. Though it has been used in herbalism for millennia, little research has been conducted in modern times, although it is an ingredient in some mass-produced herbal laxatives. When used as such, it is known as "cassia pods". [6]

In India, a cathartic made from the pulp is sometimes added to tobacco. [15]

A paste of the flowers is used as an ointment for pimples.[ citation needed ]


Cassia fistula is both the national tree and national flower of Thailand – in Thai ratchaphruek (Thai: ราชพฤกษ์) and the blossoms commonly referred to as dok khun (Thai: ดอกคูน). [16] Its yellow flowers symbolize Thai royalty. A 2006–2007 flower festival, the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek, was named after the tree. Cassia fistula is also featured on a 2003 joint Canadian-Thai design for a 48-cent stamp, part of a series featuring national emblems. [9]

The Indian laburnum is the state flower of Kerala. The flowers are of ritual importance in the Vishu festival of Kerala. [17] The tree has been depicted on a 20-rupee stamp. The tree is frequently cultivated in Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka where the Sinhala name is Ehela, ඇහැල. [18]

In Laos, its blooming flowers known locally as dok khoun are associated with the Lao New Year. People use the flowers as offerings at the temple and also hang them in their homes for the New Year in belief that the flowers will bring happiness and good luck to the households. [19]

Related Research Articles

Jackfruit Tree in the fig, mulberry and breadfruit family

The jackfruit, also known as jack tree, is a species of tree in the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family (Moraceae). Its origin is in the region between the Western Ghats of southern India, all of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the rainforests of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

<i>Laburnum</i> Genus of plants

Laburnum, sometimes called golden chain or golden rain, is a genus of two species of small trees in the subfamily Faboideae of the pea family Fabaceae. The species are Laburnum anagyroidescommon laburnum and Laburnum alpinumalpine laburnum. They are native to the mountains of southern Europe from France to the Balkans.

<i>Cassia</i> (genus) Genus of legumes

Cassia is a genus of flowering plants in the legume family, Fabaceae, and the subfamily Caesalpinioideae. Species are known commonly as cassias. Cassia is also the English common name of some species in the genus Cinnamomum of the family Lauraceae. Species of the genera Senna and Chamaecrista were previously included in Cassia. Cassia now generally includes the largest species of the legume subtribe Cassiinae, usually mid-sized trees.

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<i>Strychnos nux-vomica</i> Species of plant

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<i>Nyctanthes arbor-tristis</i> Species of plant

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<i>Terminalia catappa</i> Species of plant

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<i>Senna spectabilis</i> Species of legume

Senna spectabilis is a plant species of the legume family (Fabaceae) in the subfamily Caesalpinioideae native to South and Central America. They are often grown as an ornamental in front yards, parks, gardens, buildings etc. due to their bright yellow flowers that bloom during the summer months. They are also known as golden wonder tree, American cassia, popcorn tree, Cassia excelsa, golden shower tree or Archibald's cassia.

<i>Areca catechu</i> Species of palm

Areca catechu is a species of palm which grows in much of the tropical Pacific, Asia, and parts of east Africa. The palm is believed to have originated in the Philippines, but is widespread in cultivation and is considered naturalized in southern China, Taiwan, India, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea, many of the islands in the Pacific Ocean, and also in the West Indies.

<i>Butea monosperma</i> Species of legume

Butea monosperma is a species of Butea native to tropical and sub-tropical parts of the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia, ranging across Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and western Indonesia. Common names include flame-of-the-forest, palash, and bastard teak.

<i>Sesbania grandiflora</i> Species of legume

Sesbania grandiflora, commonly known as vegetable hummingbird, katurai, agati, or West Indian pea, is a small leguminous tree native to Maritime Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. It has edible flowers and leaves commonly eaten in Southeast Asia and South Asia.

<i>Lagerstroemia speciosa</i> Species of plant

Lagerstroemia speciosa is a species of Lagerstroemia native to tropical southern Asia. It is a deciduous tree with bright pink to light purple flowers.

<i>Erythrina variegata</i> Species of legume

Erythrina variegata, commonly known as tiger's claw or Indian coral tree, is a species of Erythrina native to the tropical and subtropical regions of eastern Africa, the Indian subcontinent, northern Australia, and the islands of the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean east to Fiji.

Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006

The Royal Flora Ratchaphruek was an international horticultural exposition held 1 November 2006 to 31 January 2007 in the Thai city Chiang Mai of Chiang Mai Province that drew 3,781,624 visitors. Recognised by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), it was one of the grand celebrations hosted by the Royal Thai Government in honor of King Bhumibol, the world's longest reigning monarch.

<i>Senna alata</i> Species of legume

Senna alata is an important medicinal tree, as well as an ornamental flowering plant in the subfamily Caesalpinioideae. It also known as emperor's candlesticks, candle bush, candelabra bush, Christmas candles, empress candle plant, ringworm shrub, or candletree. A remarkable species of Senna, it was sometimes separated in its own genus, Herpetica.

<i>Senna auriculata</i> Species of legume

Senna auriculata is a leguminous tree in the subfamily Caesalpinioideae. It is commonly known by its local names matura tea tree, avaram or ranawara, or the English version avaram senna. It is the State flower of Telangana. It occurs in the dry regions of India and Sri Lanka. It is common along the sea coast and the dry zone in Sri Lanka.

<i>Nymphaea nouchali</i> Species of aquatic plant

Nymphaea nouchali, often known by its synonym Nymphaea stellata, or by common names blue lotus, star lotus, red water lily, dwarf aquarium lily, blue water lily, blue star water lily or manel flower, is a water lily of genus Nymphaea. It is native to southern and eastern parts of Asia, and is the national flower of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. In Sanskrit, it is utpala. This species is usually considered to include the blue Egyptian lotus N. nouchali var. caerulea. In the past, taxonomic confusion has occurred, with the name Nymphaea nouchali incorrectly applied to Nymphaea pubescens.

<i>Oroxylum indicum</i> Species of tree

Oroxylum indicum is a species of flowering plant belonging to the monotypic genus Oroxylum and the family Bignoniaceae, and is commonly called Indian trumpet tree, oroxylum, Indian trumpet flower, broken bones, Indian caper, scythe tree or tree of Damocles. It can reach a height of 18 metres (59 ft). Various segments of the tree are used in traditional medicine, where it is known as Shyonaka or Sona Patha.

<i>Dolichandrone spathacea</i> Species of flowering plant

Dolichandrone spathacea, also known as tui or mangrove trumpet tree, is a species of plant in the family Bignoniaceae. It is found from South India, Sri Lanka to New Caledonia.

<i>Cassia javanica</i> Species of legume

Cassia javanica, also known as Java cassia, pink shower, apple blossom tree and rainbow shower tree, is a species of tree in the family Fabaceae. Its origin is in Southeast Asia, but it has been extensively grown in tropical areas worldwide as a garden tree owing to its beautiful crimson and pink flower bunches.


  1. Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) & IUCN SSC Global Tree Specialist Group (2018). "Cassia fistula". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2018: e.T136142327A136142329. Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  2. "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species" . Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  3. USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Cassia fistula". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  4. BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  5. "Cassia fistula". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  6. 1 2 U. S. Department of Agriculture, William Saunders; Catalogue of Economic Plants in the Collection of the U. S. Department of Agriculture; Washington D. C.; June 5, 1891
  7. sinhala botany website
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  11. Troup, R.S. (1911).Silviculture of Indian Trees. Published under the authority of His Majesty's Secretary of State for India in Council. Oxford Clarendon Press
  12. Heuzé V., Thiollet H., Tran G., Hassoun P., Lebas F., 2018. Golden tree (Cassia fistula). Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO.
  13. Pole, Sebastian (2012). Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice. Singing Dragon. p. 129. ISBN   978-1848191136 . Retrieved November 10, 2012.
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  15. Hargreaves, Dorothy; Hargreaves, Bob (1970). Tropical Trees of the Pacific. Kailua, Hawaii: Hargreaves. p. 14.
  16. "ASEAN National Flowers". Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Archived from the original on 20 January 2012.
  17. "State Flower Golden shower". ENVIS Hub: Kerala. Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  18. "Botany Plant-names → Sinhala Plant names උද්භිද නම් → සිංහල නම්".
  19. Lao NEWS on LNTV: When the golden shower trees, known as Dok Khoun in Laos blossom.17/4/2014