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.

Starr 030702-0030 Cassia javanica.jpg
Cassia javanica
Scientific classification


Hundreds; see text

  • Bactyrilobium Willd. 1809
  • Cassia sect. Fistula DC. ex Colladon 1816
  • Cassia subgen. Fistula (DC.) Benth. 1870
  • Cassia sensu Link 1831
  • Cassia subgen. vel sect. Fistula sensu Benth. 1871
  • Cassia subgen. Cassia sensu De Wit 1955
  • Cassia sensu Irwin & Barneby 1981
  • Cassiana Raf. 1818
  • Cathartocarpus Pers. 1805 (pro parte)


Cassia species occur in a range of climates. Some can be utilized widely as ornamental plants. They have been used in reforestation projects, and species from desert climates can be used to prevent desertification.

Cassia species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of many lepidopteran taxa. For example, the skipper Astraptes fulgerator and the pierids Catopsilia pomona and C. pyranthe are all seen on Cassia fistula. The latter utilizes several other cassias, as well.

The plant pathogenic viruses cassia yellow blotch bromovirus and cassia yellow spot potyvirus were first described from Cassia.


Because the name Cassia is not precise, it is sometimes difficult to know what is meant by references to plants known as "cassias". Cassia gum, for example, is made from Senna obtusifolia, a species formerly included in genus Cassia.

Genera Cassia and Senna are both known in systems of traditional medicine. Cassia fistula, for example, is used in Ayurvedic medicine.[citation needed]

There exists some culinary use for cassias. The fruit of some species is edible. In Central America, its pods are stewed into a molasses-like syrup, taken as a sweetener and for its nutritional and medicinal effects. Some have toxins in their seeds, however.

Systematics and taxonomyEdit

There are hundreds of Cassia species, but it is unclear just how many. One estimate stands at 692.[3] The genus was a wastebasket taxon for a long time, used to classify plants that did not fit well anywhere else. Over 1000 species have belonged to Cassia over the years.[4] Many taxa have since been transferred to more appropriate genera, such as Senna.


Cassia comprises the following species:[4][5][6]

Species names with uncertain taxonomic statusEdit

The status of the following species is unresolved:[6]

  • Cassia acacalis Royle
  • Cassia acisperma Schrank ex Colla
  • Cassia adenopoda Miq.
  • Cassia aegyptiaca Willd.
  • Cassia aethiopica Guibourt
  • Cassia afzeliana Vogel
  • Cassia amara hort. ex Gentil
  • Cassia amoena Buch.-Ham.
  • Cassia aprica Vell.
  • Cassia aristatella (Pennell) Cory
  • Cassia arowana M.R.Schomb.
  • Cassia artemisiifolia R.Br.
  • Cassia artensis Beauvis.
  • Cassia atroreticulata Chiov.
  • Cassia augustisiliqua Chapm.
  • Cassia aurita Collad.
  • Cassia barrenfieldii Colla
  • Cassia batramensis Steud.
  • Cassia bequaerti De Wild.
  • Cassia berryana Voigt
  • Cassia bifolia Pers. ex Pittier
  • Cassia bifora L.
  • Cassia bonariensis Colla
  • Cassia bonplandia Rojas Acosta
  • Cassia brachystachys Harms ex Glaz.
  • Cassia bracteosa Lassen
  • Cassia bracteosa Welw. ex W.Bull
  • Cassia brewsteri (F. Muell.) F. Muell. ex Benth.
  • Cassia buchanani Kostel
  • Cassia buchananii Kostel.
  • Cassia bulbotricha Taub. ex Glaz.
  • Cassia burmanni Wall.
  • Cassia burmanni Wight
  • Cassia burmannii DC.
  • Cassia cafesiana Rojas
  • Cassia canaliculata R.Br.
  • Cassia carringtoniana Torre
  • Cassia castiglionia Collad.
  • Cassia chinensis Lam.
  • Cassia ciliaris Collad.
  • Cassia confusa Phil.
  • Cassia coymbosa Ortega
  • Cassia cruikshanksii Hook. & Arn.
  • Cassia cyclophora Boivin ex Ghesq.
  • Cassia darmiens Vell.
  • Cassia decipiens Desv.
  • Cassia decipiens Griseb.
  • Cassia delagoensis Harv.
  • Cassia deplanchei Benth.
  • Cassia disperma Vell.
  • Cassia droogmansiana De Wild.
  • Cassia eglandulosa Dum.Cours.
  • Cassia ehrenbergii Bisch.
  • Cassia elongata Lemaire-Lis.
  • Cassia fastuosa Willd. ex Vogel
  • Cassia fieldii Colla
  • Cassia fikifiki Aubrév. & Pellegr.
  • Cassia fimbriata Noronha
  • Cassia florifera Herrera
  • Cassia fluminensis Vell.
  • Cassia forsan Harms ex Hoehne
  • Cassia forskalii Royle
  • Cassia fraseri A.Cunn. ex Vogel
  • Cassia gamaensis Glaz.
  • Cassia glandulifera Reinw. ex Steud.
  • Cassia glanduliflora Reinw. ex Blume
  • Cassia gracillima Benth.
  • Cassia gracillima Welw.
  • Cassia granitica Baker f.
  • Cassia graveolens Colla
  • Cassia guineensis G.Don
  • Cassia gygophylloides Taub.
  • Cassia heptanthera F.Muell.
  • Cassia heteroloba T.L.Mitch. ex Lindl.
  • Cassia heterophylla Walp.
  • Cassia hibbertiana Steud.
  • Cassia hirta Willd.
  • Cassia homophylla Hoffmanns.
  • Cassia hornemannii DC.
  • Cassia ilidorea Benth.
  • Cassia indochinensis (Gagnep.) V.Singh
  • Cassia javanica subsp. bartonii (Bailey) K. Larsen
  • Cassia kethulleana De Wild.
  • Cassia ketschta Hasselq.
  • Cassia kituiensis Vatke
  • Cassia kuhlmannii Hoehne
  • Cassia kuntzei Hosseus
  • Cassia kuntzii Hosseus
  • Cassia lancifolia Colla
  • Cassia laxiflora Benth.
  • Cassia lenitiva Bisch.
  • Cassia leschenaultii Wall.
  • Cassia leucoxylon Klotzsch
  • Cassia ligustrinoides Schrank
  • Cassia longifolia Steud.
  • Cassia lucida Dehnh.
  • Cassia mariquitensis Mutis
  • Cassia medica Forssk.
  • Cassia medica Vell.
  • Cassia medicinalis Bisch.
  • Cassia milleri Collad.
  • Cassia mimosa Noronha
  • Cassia modosa Buch.-Ham.
  • Cassia mornicola Urb.
  • Cassia multisiliqua J.F. Gmel.
  • Cassia myriophylla Wall.
  • Cassia neocaledonica Vieill. ex Guillaumin
  • Cassia nummularia Vahl ex DC.
  • Cassia obtusata Hayne
  • Cassia oocarpa Baker
  • Cassia oppositifolia Glaz.
  • Cassia orientalis Pers.
  • Cassia ornithopodioides Steud.
  • Cassia ovata Mérat & Lens ex Geiger
  • Cassia pachycalyx Vogel
  • Cassia palmata Wall.
  • Cassia pancheri Vieill. ex Guillaumin
  • Cassia papulosa Hoffmanns.
  • Cassia parviflora Sessé & Moc.
  • Cassia parvifolia Wender.
  • Cassia pencana Phil.
  • Cassia peruviana Vogel
  • Cassia pilidens Steud.
  • Cassia pinnata Voigt
  • Cassia pistaciaefolia Kunth
  • Cassia platypoda R.Br.
  • Cassia polyadura Fawc. & Rendle
  • Cassia porturegalensis Bancr. ex Macfad.
  • Cassia pseudo-nictitans Hance
  • Cassia pulcherrima Dehnh.
  • Cassia purgans Steud.
  • Cassia quadriflora Vogel
  • Cassia ramiflora Vogel
  • Cassia ramosissima Kunth
  • Cassia riedelii Benth.
  • Cassia robinioides Willd.
  • Cassia rogeonii Ghesq.
  • Cassia roxburghiana Graham
  • Cassia rupicola Benth.
  • Cassia rusa M.Martens & Galeotti
  • Cassia ruscifolia Jacq.
  • Cassia sabak Delile
  • Cassia sagera Lam.
  • Cassia saltiana Steud.
  • Cassia schimperi Steud.
  • Cassia schinifolia A.DC.
  • Cassia schomburgkii Klotzsch ex Schomburgk
  • Cassia schultesii Colla
  • Cassia selerocarpa Vogel
  • Cassia sieberi C.Presl
  • Cassia simplicifolia Desv.
  • Cassia sinensis J.F. Gmel.
  • Cassia solimoesensis H.S.Irwin
  • Cassia sophora Collad.
  • Cassia stuhlmannii Taub.
  • Cassia surinamensis Dehnh.
  • Cassia tarda Noronha
  • Cassia taubertiana Harms
  • Cassia teretifolia R.Cunn. ex Lindl.
  • Cassia teretiuscula F.Muell.
  • Cassia tetrafoliata Desv.
  • Cassia tettensis Bolle
  • Cassia thunbergiana Blume ex Miq.
  • Cassia tola L.
  • Cassia tortiramis Pittier
  • Cassia torulosa Poir.
  • Cassia transversali-seminata De Wild.
  • Cassia tuberculata Collad.
  • Cassia tula Desv. ex Steud.
  • Cassia ulei H. Irwin & D. Rogers
  • Cassia umbellata Bertol.
  • Cassia umbellata Rchb.
  • Cassia unica Schery
  • Cassia ursinoides Harms ex Luetzelb.
  • Cassia vernicifolia Taub.
  • Cassia viciaefolia Benth.
  • Cassia vulgaris Roxb. ex Steud.
  • Cassia xanthocoma Miq.


The following hybrids have been described:[6]

Cassia ×nealiae
  • Cassia ×corymbosa Larrañaga
  • Cassia ×desolata F.Muell.
  • Cassia ×floribunda Cav.
  • Cassia ×homophylla Hoffmanns.
  • Cassia ×hybrida Ten.
  • Cassia ×lancasteri
  • Cassia ×luerssenii Domin
  • Cassia ×nealiae H.S.Irwin & Barneby—rainbow shower tree (=Cassia fistula L. × Cassia javanica L.)
  • Cassia ×regia Standl.
  • Cassia ×sturtii R.Br.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Legume Phylogeny Working Group (LPWG). (2017). "A new subfamily classification of the Leguminosae based on a taxonomically comprehensive phylogeny". Taxon. 66 (1): 44–77. doi:10.12705/661.3.
  2. ^ Irwin HS, Barneby RC (1982). The American Cassiinae: A synoptical revision of Leguminosae tribe Cassieae subtribe Casiinae in the New World, Part 1 (PDF). Bronx, N.Y.: New York Botanical Garden. OCLC 8553234. b1010840.
  3. ^ Frodin DG (2004). "History and concepts of big plant genera". Taxon. 53 (3): 753–776. doi:10.2307/4135449. JSTOR 4135449.
  4. ^ a b "ILDIS LegumeWeb entry for Cassia". International Legume Database & Information Service. Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  5. ^ USDA; ARS; National Genetic Resources Program. "GRIN species records of Cassia". Germplasm Resources Information Network—(GRIN) [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  6. ^ a b c "The Plant List entry for Cassia". The Plant List. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Missouri Botanical Garden. 2013. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Cassia brewsteri". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Cassia fistula". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 15 December 2017.