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
Genus: Cassia
Species:
C. fistula
Binomial name
Cassia fistula
L.
Synonyms [1]
  • Bactyrilobium fistulaWilld.
  • Cassia bonplandianaDC.
  • Cassia excelsaKunth
  • Cassia fistuloidesCollad.
  • Cassia rhombifoliaRoxb.
  • Cathartocarpus excelsusG.Don
  • Cathartocarpus fistulaPers.
  • Cathartocarpus fistuloides(Collad.) G.Don
  • Cathartocarpus rhombifoliusG.Don

Cassia fistula, commonly known as golden shower, [2] purging cassia, [3] Indian laburnum, [4] or pudding-pipe tree, [5] is a flowering plant in the subfamily, Caesalpinioideae of the legume family, Fabaceae. The species is native to the Indian subcontinent and adjacent regions of Southeast Asia. It ranges from eastward throughout India to Myanmar and Thailand and south to Sri Lanka and southern Pakistan. It is a popular ornamental plant and is also used in herbal medicine. It is both the national tree and national flower of Thailand. It is the state flower of Kerala in India.

Contents

Description

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 (1.6–3.5 in) broad. The flowers are produced in pendulous racemes 20–40 cm (8–16 in) long, each flower 4–7 cm (1.6–2.8 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 (0.6–1.0 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 [6] ) heartwood.

Cultivation

C. fistula is widely grown as an ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical areas. It blooms in late spring. 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. [7]

Pollinators and seed dispersal

Various species of bees and butterflies are known to be pollinators of C. fistula flowers, especially carpenter bees (Xylocopa sp.). [8] 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. [9]

Uses

Food

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. [10]

Medical

In Ayurvedic medicine, the golden shower tree is known as aragvadha, meaning "disease killer". The fruit pulp is considered a purgative, [11] [12] 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". [5]

In India, a cathartic made from the pulp is sometimes added to tobacco. [13]

Culture

The golden shower tree is the state flower of Kerala. The flowers are of ritual importance in the Vishu festival of Kerala, and the tree was depicted on a 20-rupee stamp. The golden rain tree is the national flower of Thailand; its yellow flowers symbolize Thai royalty. A 2006–2007 flower festival, the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek, was named after the tree, which is known in Thai as ratchaphruek (Thai: ราชพฤกษ์) and the blossoms commonly referred to as dok khun (Thai: ดอกคูน). C. fistula is also featured on a 2003 joint Canadian-Thai design for a 48-cent stamp, part of a series featuring national emblems. [7] The tree is frequently cultivated in Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka where the Sinhala name is Ehela, ඇහැල. [14]

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. [15]

Related Research Articles

Jackfruit Species of flowering plant in the fig and mulberry family Moraceae

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 and the rainforests of Malaysia.

<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.

<i>Delonix regia</i> Species of flowering plant in the bean family Fabaceae

Delonix regia is a species of flowering plant in the bean family Fabaceae, subfamily Caesalpinioideae native to Madagascar. It is noted for its fern-like leaves and flamboyant display of orange-red flowers over summer. In many tropical parts of the world it is grown as an ornamental tree and in English it is given the name royal poinciana, flamboyant, flame of the forest, or flame tree.

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

Strychnos nux-vomica, the strychnine tree, also known as nux vomica, poison nut, semen strychnos, and quaker buttons, is a deciduous tree native to India and to southeast Asia. It is a medium-sized tree in the family Loganiaceae that grows in open habitats. Its leaves are ovate and 2–3.5 inches (5.1–8.9 cm) in size.

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

Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, the night-flowering jasmine or Parijat or hengra bubar or Shiuli is a species of Nyctanthes native to South Asia and Southeast Asia.

<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>Phyllanthus emblica</i> Berry and plant

Phyllanthus emblica, also known as emblic, emblic myrobalan, myrobalan, Indian gooseberry, Malacca tree, or amla from Sanskrit amalaki is a deciduous tree of the family Phyllanthaceae. It has edible fruit by the same name.

<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>Senna tora</i> Species of flowering plant

Senna tora is a plant species in the family Fabaceae and the subfamily Caesalpinioideae. Its name is derived from its Sinhala name tora (තෝර). It grows wild in most of the tropics and is considered a weed in many places. Its native range is in Central America. Its most common English name is sickle senna or sickle wild sensitive-plant. Other common names include sickle pod, tora, coffee pod, tovara, chakvad, thakara in Malayalam and foetid cassia. It is often confused with Chinese senna or sicklepod, Senna obtusifolia.

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

Sesbania grandiflora, commonly known as vegetable hummingbird, West Indian pea, agati, or katurai, is a small tree in the genus Sesbania in the legume family. It has edible flowers and leaves commonly eaten in the Southeast Asia and South Asia.

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

Lagerstroemia speciosa is a species of Lagerstroemia native to tropical southern Asia.

<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.

<i>Elettaria cardamomum</i> Species of flowering plant

Elettaria cardamomum, commonly known as green or true cardamom, is a herbaceous, perennial plant in the ginger family, native to southern India. It is the most common of the species whose seeds are used as a spice called cardamom. It is cultivated widely in tropical regions and reportedly naturalized in Réunion, Indochina, and Costa Rica.

Royal Flora Ratchaphruek

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 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>Vitex negundo</i> Species of flowering plant

Vitex negundo, commonly known as the Chinese chaste tree, five-leaved chaste tree, or horseshoe vitex, or nisinda is a large aromatic shrub with quadrangular, densely whitish, tomentose branchlets. It is widely used in folk medicine, particularly in South and Southeast Asia.

<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 midnight horror, oroxylum, Indian trumpet flower, broken bones, Indian caper, or tree of Damocles. It can reach a height of 18 metres (59 ft). Various segments of the tree are used in traditional medicine.

<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>Elaeocarpus serratus</i> Species of flowering plant in the family Elaeocarpaceae

Elaeocarpus serratus is a tropical flowering plant in the family Elaeocarpaceae. It is found in the Indian Subcontinent, Indo-China and South East Asia. It is an ornamental medium-sized tree indigenous to Sri Lanka, that produces smooth, ovoid green fruits that have nutritive and medicinal value. This Ceylon olive is a beneficial herbal plant used to treat various diseases.

<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.

References

  1. "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species" . Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  2. "Cassia fistula". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA . Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  3. BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  4. "Cassia fistula". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  5. 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
  6. sinhala botany website
  7. 1 2 "Cassia Fistula (aburnum, Purging Fistula, Golden Shower, Amaltas)", Ayurveda - Herbs, 4 to 40, archived from the original on 2011-07-14, retrieved 2011-01-20
  8. Murali, KS (1993) Differential reproductive success in Cassia fistula in different habitats—A case of pollinator limitations? In: Current Science (Bangalore), 65 (3). pp. 270-272.
  9. 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
  10. Heuzé V., Thiollet H., Tran G., Hassoun P., Lebas F., 2018. Golden tree (Cassia fistula). Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/325
  11. Pole, Sebastian (2012). Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice. Singing Dragon. p. 129. ISBN   978-1848191136 . Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  12. Bhagwan Dash, Vaidya (2002). Materia Medica Of Ayurveda. India: B. Jain. pp. 41–42. ISBN   9788170214939 . Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  13. Hargreaves, Dorothy; Hargreaves, Bob (1970). Tropical Trees of the Pacific. Kailua, Hawaii: Hargreaves. p. 14.
  14. https://dh-web.org/place.names/bot2sinhala.html#Aehaela
  15. Lao NEWS on LNTV: When the golden shower trees, known as Dok Khoun in Laos blossom.17/4/2014

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