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Chamaecrista rotundifolia - (Pers.) Greene

Common Name Round-leaf cassia
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 9-11
Known Hazards None Known
Habitats Widely naturalised in the coastal and sub-coastal regions of northern and eastern Australia. Its current range extends from the coastal districts of northern New South Wales, through south-eastern, central and northern Queensland, the coastal districts of the Northern Territory to a few locations in northern Western Australia. Also naturalised on Norfolk Island and on Lord Howe Island. Naturalised overseas in western Africa and south-eastern USA (i.e. Florida).
Range Mesoamerica. Native to Mexico, Central America (i.e. Costa Rica and Panama), the Caribbean (i.e. Cuba, Jamaica and Puerto Rico) and tropical South America (i.e. Venezuela, Brazil, eastern Bolivia, Colombia, northern Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay).
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Chamaecrista rotundifolia Round-leaf cassia

wikimedia.org Harry Rose
Chamaecrista rotundifolia Round-leaf cassia
wikimedia.org Harry Rose


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Chamaecrista rotundifolia is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Cassia bifoliolata Collad. Cassia fabaginifolia Kunth. Cassia monophylla Vell. Cassia pentandra Raddi. Cassia pentandria Larranaga. Cassia rotundifolia Pers. Cassia tenuivenosa M.E.Jones. Chamaecrista bifoliolata (Collad.) Greene. Chamaecrista rotundifolia var. rotundifolia


Edible Uses

None Known

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.

None Known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Companion  Fertilizer  Fodder  Soil conditioner  Soil conditioner  Straw

Carbon Farming Solutions - Agroforestry Services: nitrogen, understory legume (Agroforestry is a land use management system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland). Fodder: pasture. Very tolerant of constant heavy grazing; however, if allowed to grow tall and then cut low, individual plants fail to regenerate, but populations will regenerate from seed [415]. Where feed sources are limited it can serve as a high quality supplement to lower quality feeds such as crop residues and native pasture plants. Integrating Round-leaf Cassia into feed can result in healthy weight gains in cattle. Nutritional value as good as Medicago sativa in rat-feeding trials. Good protein and digestibility levels recorded under grazing. Application of deficient P and S in southern Queensland increased N concentrations of leaf tips to 3.3% N. Wynn' cassia raised N concentrations of companion native grass (Heteropogon contortus ) by 20-40% under grazing and fertilising (with P & S). Palatability/acceptability [415]. Generally not eaten readily by cattle in the growing season under higher rainfall conditions, but becomes more acceptable as the associated grasses mature later in the season. Can comprise up to 20% of diet in late autumn. Little apparent problem with 'Wynn' cassia in drier areas (<900 mm) but late maturing, tall types can be rejected by stock. Not eaten by horses. Dry Matter yields of up to 7,000 kg/ha recorded in south-east Queensland, Australia [415]. The nitrogen-fixing plant also acts as green fertilizer and has potential to increase crop yields either directly by increasing soil fertility or indirectly through application of higher quality manure from animals on farm land which eat the legumes. It can be applied in several ways: in pastures, fodder banks, and on fallow land to replace previously existing plant species, as well as amongst fruit trees or intercropped in rows with cereal crops.[9] These are good methods of no-till agriculture, which has proven in many instances to contribute to better and more sustainable farming.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Coppice  Food Forest  Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen  Agroforestry Services: Understory legume  Fodder: Pasture  Management: Coppice  Management: Standard  Minor Global Crop

Climate: tropical, tropical highlands. Humidity: semi-arid. Behaves as a perennial under 900-1,500mm rainfall; as an annual down to 600 mm. One of the best adapted legumes on sandy soils in semi-arid northern South Africa and in semi-arid west Africa. Does not tolerate poor drainage or flooding. Reasonably drought-tolerant when plants form rosettes under heavier grazing, but leaves often turn red and drop if plants are left ungrazed and tall during dry conditions. Has been collected from sites with rainfall ranging from 400-3,700mm, but most are in the 800-1,500mm range. Warm season growth only; top growth readily killed by frost. Under regular heavy frosts, round-leaf cassia behaves as an annual . There were large differences among accessions in survival over winter in subtropical China (26-29ºC). Only those from the most extreme southern origins (Paraguay and Argentina) survived. Full sunlight to moderate shade [415]. Combines well with native tussock grasses and more open creeping naturalised grasses, but can become dominant if stock concentrate on more palatable companion grasses in early and mid-growing season . Can improve the protein level of associated grasses [415]. Companion species - Grasses: Bothriochloa pertusa , Chloris gayana , Digitaria eriantha, Urochloa mosambicensis and a range of other grasses. Legumes: Stylosanthes guianensis var. intermedia, Lotononis bainesii , Aeschynomene falcata .Will spread naturally through heavy seed set [415]. Carbon Farming Solutions - Cultivation: minor global crop. Management: standard, coppice (Describes the non-destructive management systems that are used in cultivation) [1-1].

Carbon Farming

  • Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen  Plants that contribute to nitrogen fixation include the legume family – Fabaceae.
  • Agroforestry Services: Understory legume  Legume vegetation, especially the trees and shrubs growing between the forest canopy and the forest floor.
  • Fodder: Pasture  Enclosed tracts of farmland mainly of grasses, with an interspersion of legumes and other forbs (non-grass herbaceous plants).
  • Management: Coppice  Cut to the ground repeatedly - resprouting vigorously. Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Minor Global Crop  These crops are already grown or traded around the world, but on a smaller scale than the global perennial staple and industrial crops, The annual value of a minor global crop is under $1 billion US. Examples include shea, carob, Brazil nuts and fibers such as ramie and sisal.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed. Very heavy seed set, but seed ripens over an extended period and shatters. Yields of 800 kg/ha have been collected under suction harvesting in Australia [415].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Chamaecrista rotundifolia, Round leaf cassia, round-leafed cassia, Pasto rastiero, Roundleaf sensitive pea, Wynn cassia Asia: Yuan ye jue ming (China); muôn’g lá tròn (Vietnam). Latin America: acácia-rasteira, alfafa nativa, coração, erva-de-coração, fedegoso (also applied to Senna alata (L.) Roxb. and Senna occidentalis (L.) Link), mata pasto, pasto rastiero (Brazil); pega pega chiquita (Venezuela)

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Found In

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

Native to: North America: Mexico. Mesoamerica: Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama. Caribbean: Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico. South America: Argentina (north), Bolivia (east), Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela. Naturalised in west Africa and USA.

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.

Massive seed set and low seasonal palatability tend to suggest this plant could have some weed potential [415].

Conservation Status

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Chamaecrista fasciculataGolden Cassia, Partridge peaAnnual1.0 4-8  LMHSNM001
Chamaecrista nigricansDiola, DialaPerennial1.5 10-12 FLMHNM124

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.


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(Pers.) Greene

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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