Selected Trees and Shrubs
Cassia fistular, Common name: Golden Shower, Indian Luburnum, Purging Cassia
Plant Family: Belongs to the Caesalpiniaceae family, which includes the Pink Cassia (Cassia javanica), Flamboyant (Delonix regia), and Orchid Tree (Bauhinia variegata).
Description: A beautiful, slow-growing, deciduous, small to medium-sized tree, up to 15 m tall (50 ft); leaves pinnately compound, 5-15 cm long (2-6 in), with 3-8 pairs of opposite, shiny, bright green leaflets; at flowering, almost leafless tree covered with abundance of golden yellow, five-petaled flowers, 2.5-5 cm across (1-2 in), growing in pendulous racemes, 30 cm or more in length (1 ft), a very beautiful tree when in flower; fruit a long, cylindrical, black pod, up to 80 cm long (2-1/2 ft) when mature, (and reportedly up to 90 cm or 3 ft); flowering in dry season (April-May).
Natural Habitat: Semi-dry areas of Tropics, but will grow in drier tropical locations, and will thrive in moist tropical regions with well drained soils up to 2000 ft elevation.
Origin and Distribution: Native to India and Tropical Asia, but now distributed throughout Caribbean, and other tropical and sub-tropical regions.
Uses: Primarily ornamental; a purgative is also made from the root and bark, and particularly the pulp of the fruit; bark as astringent for rheumatism; the bark also used for tanning.
Indigenous Legends: Flowers used as temple offerings in India; the pods were once “valued in medicine for their laxative properties, and exported from Java and the West Indies, chiefly Dominica,” to Europe.
Dorothy P. Storer. Familiar Trees and Cultivated Plants of Jamaica. Macmillan, London 1964.
G.W. Lennox and S.A. Seddon. Flowers of the Caribbean. Macmillan, London 1978
H.F. Macmillan. Tropical Planting and Gardening. Macmillan, London 1956
C.D. Adams. Flowering Plants of Jamaica. University of the West Indies, Mona, Glasgow University Press 1972
Anon. Official Guide to the Botanic Gardens, Dominica. (1924?)
Dan H.Nicolson. Flora of Dominica, Part 2: Dicotyledoneae. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washingotn, D.C. 1991
Robert A. DeFilipps. Useful Plants of the Commonwealth of Dominica, West Indies. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 1998
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Trees, Shrubs, Birds:
Selected Trees and Shrubs
Florida's Fairchild Garden
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Treasures of the Cathedral
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