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Senna singueana - (Delile) Lock

Common Name Winter cassia, Sticky pod
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The species is known to be toxic[398 ].
Habitats Woodland, wooded grassland and bushland; often on termite mounds, at elevations up to 2,200 metres[398 ].
Range Tropical Africa - drier areas from Cote D'Ivoire to Ethiopia, south to Angola, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Senna singueana Winter cassia, Sticky pod

N. Juergens; Photo Guide to Plants of Southern African plants. BioCentre Klein Flottbek, Hamburg, Germany
Senna singueana Winter cassia, Sticky pod
N. Juergens; Photo Guide to Plants of Southern African plants. BioCentre Klein Flottbek, Hamburg, Germany


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Senna singueana is a deciduous Tree growing to 5 m (16ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Cassia goratensis Fresen. Cassia kethulleana De Wild. Cassia mututu De Wild. Cassia sabak Delile Cassia singueana Delile Cassia tettensis Bolle Cassia zanzibarensis Vatke

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Seedpod
Edible Uses: Coffee

Pods - raw or cooked[303 ]. Fleshy and sweet[398 ]. They are collected as soon as they are ripe, broken open, the sweet pulp sucked out and the seeds discarded[398 ]. They are mostly eaten by children and herdsmen[398 ]. The seeds are used as a substitute for coffee[398 ]. The leaves are eaten as a cooked vegetable in Malawi and Tanzania, but elsewhere they are considered to be poisonous[299 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Analgesic  Anthelmintic  Antibacterial  Antidiarrhoeal  Antipyretic  Antispasmodic  Antitussive  Antiviral  
Astringent  Epilepsy  Galactogogue  Laxative  Leprosy  Malaria  Ophthalmic  
Purgative  Skin  Stomachic

The plant has many medicinal uses throughout Africa[299 ]. Modern research has shown the presence of a range of medically active compounds. The roots contain 4 tetrahydroanthracene derivatives, singueanol-I and -II, torosachrysone and germichrysone, as well as the pentacyclic triterpene lupeol and steroids (campesterol, ß-sitosterol and stigmasterol). The anthracene derivatives have shown significant activity against several gram-positive bacteria in vitro and also antispasmodic activity[299 ]. Extracts of the root bark have shown significant analgesic, antipyretic, anthelmintic and antiplasmodial activity[299 ]. The leaves have been shown to have anthelmintic and antiviral properties, but no significant antibacterial activity[299 ]. The stem bark and leaves contain tannins and are astringent[299 ]. The leaves, stem and the root bark are all used as anthelmintics and to treat bilharzia[299 ]. An infusion of the leaves is used as a remedy for venereal disease, malaria, convulsions, epilepsy, coughs, intestinal worms, constipation, heartburn and stomach-ache[398 ]. A hot water infusion of the leaves is drunk and the warm leaves are applied as a compress to treat fever. The leaves, either as a decoction or infusion, or as a dried powder, are applied to wounds caused by leprosy and syphilis[299 ]. An infusion of the leaves is applied as eye drops to cure conjunctivitis[299 ]. A decoction of the roots is used to treat wounds and as a remedy for diarrhoea, convulsions, dementia and STDs[398 ]. The roots are used to treat venereal diseases, stomach complaints and as a purgative. The roots are also used to cure impotence caused by diabetes. The ash of burnt roots is eaten mixed with porridge to cure abdominal pain[299 ]. Extracts of the stem bark are taken to cure stomach complaints. Like the leaves, the stem bark is used to treat skin disorders and malaria[299 ]. An infusion of the flowers is used as an eye lotion[299 ]. The fruit pulp soaked in water and cooked with a staple food is eaten by lactating women as it is considered a galactagogue[299 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Charcoal  Dye  Fibre  Fodder  Fruit ripening  Fuel  Furniture  Hair  Soil conditioner  Tannin  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: The tree is used for soil improvement[398 ]. A nitrogen fixer. A suitable candidate for agroforestry in dry areas[398 ]. Other Uses: The stem bark is used as a dye for textile in Ethiopia and Zambia and for tanning hides in large parts of East Africa[299 ]. The fruits are used in Sudan for tanning skins[299 ]. The leaves contain the flavonoid leucopelargonidin, which has dyeing properties[299 ]. Bananas are wrapped in the leaves to speed ripening[299 ]. The root fibres are used in hairpieces[299 ]. The wood is pale brown in colour with a distinct grain[299 , 303 ]. It is used for hut building, small furniture, tool handles, spoons and carvings[299 , 364 , 398 ]. The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal[299 , 364 , 398 ]. Fodder: Pod.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest  Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen  Fodder: Pod  Management: Standard  Regional Crop

A plant of low to moderate elevations in the drier tropics, where it can be found from sea level to over 2,000 metres. It is found mainly in areas where the mean annual temperature is from 25 - 30°c, and the mean annual rainfall is within the range 500 - 1,000mm[299 , 303 ]. A fast-growing plant[299 ]. The plant responds well to coppicing[299 , 303 ]. The plant is fairly susceptible to fire, though its thick bark does give it some protection[299 ]. Although many species within the family Fabaceae have a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria, this species is said to be devoid of such a relationship and therefore does not fix atmospheric nitrogen[755 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen  Plants that contribute to nitrogen fixation include the legume family – Fabaceae.
  • Fodder: Pod  Fodder plants with pods.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - pre-soak in warm water for 12 hours prior to sowing. The seed usually sprouts within 9 days of sowing, with around 78% germinating[299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Scrambled egg (English) Sticky pod (English) Winter cassia (English) Winter-flowering senna (English). Busa, Hanqarar, Isihaqa esincinyane, Kadate, Kafungu-nasya, Mbaraka, Mhumba, Mkundekunde, Mlewelewe, Mliwaliwa, Mpatsachokolo, Msua, Mtogo, Muhasa, Mukengeka, Munzungunzungu, Mutungulu, Mwisa, Ndiapimbwa, Ntantanyerere, Ntewelewe, Nuhumba, Tawetawe

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Angola, Asia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Central Africa, Chad, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, East Africa, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Southern Africa, SE Asia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, West Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Delile) Lock

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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