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Caesalpinia - (Roth.)Alston.

Common Name Mysore Thorn, Shoofly
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Hedges and open bushy places[146]. Swampy localities and ravines to 1800 metres[158].
Range E. Asia - Himalayas to China.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Caesalpinia Mysore Thorn, Shoofly
Caesalpinia Mysore Thorn, Shoofly


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Caesalpinia is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft 10in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


C. sepiaria. Roxb.


Edible Uses

None known


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.

Anthelmintic, antiperiodic, astringent, febrifuge[158, 178]. The leaves are emmenagogue and laxative[240, 243]. They are applied externally to burns[240, 243]. The root is purgative[240, 243].


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Other Uses

The bark is a rich source of tannin[158, 272]. Plants are often grown as field boundaries in Nepal[272]. An excellent hedge plant[240]. However, due to its doubtful hardiness it is not a good candidate for this use in Britain. Wood - moderately hard[146]. Environmental Uses include: Agroforestry; Boundary, barrier or support; Soil improvement. It is used as an Ornamental.

Special Uses


Cultivation details

Requires a sunny position[11], succeeding in any moderately fertile well-drained soil[200] including limy soils[182]. This species is on the borderline of hardiness in Britain. However, C. japonica, which is considered to be no more than a variety of this species by many botanists, succeeds on a wall at Wisley to the west of London and is said to be hardy to about -10°c[184]. Its natural range is Japan where it grows at heights up to 2000 metres on rocky mountain slopes in the cooler regions of the country[11, 200]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200]. It has a special soil tolerance for shallow soils.


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Seed - pre-soak for 12 - 24 hours in warm water and sow in a greenhouse in early spring[200]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Softwood cuttings in sand in a frame[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Cat’s claws; cat's-claw; Mauritius-thorn; thorny poinciana; wait-a-bit; wait-a-while; woody wait-a-while. Spanish: agarra ladrón; chembé bolé; chícara cimarrona; zarza de cercas. French: brésillet du Japon; césalpinie du Japon. Chinese: yun shi. Australia: Mauritius thorn; shoofly; tiger stopper; whoa back. Germany: Cäsalpinie, Japanische; Mauritius-dorn. Haiti: chembe bolo; ti-janvier; tijavier. Indian Punjab: aila; chillari; gilo; karur; kurutu-gajjika; relan. Indonesia: areuy matahiyang gunung. Italy: cesalpinia giapponese. Japan: jaketsu-ibara. Lesser Antilles: arrête-boeuf; caniroc. Myanmar: sukyanbo. Nusa Tenggara: secang lembut. South Africa: kraaldoring (Afrikaans); ubobo-encane (Zulu); ufenisi. Thailand: kamchai. Vietnam: vu'ôt hùm.

Found In

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

Asia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indochina, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, SE Asia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam.

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.

This plant can be weedy or invasive. Introduced to Fiji, French Polynesia, Hawai‘i, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues, Kenya and South Africa. It has become a seriously problematic invasive species in many locations. A category 1 weed in South Africa where it is invasive in forest edges and clearings, in manged plantations and along roads and rivers/streams. In Australia, it is classed as a noxious weed (category W2) in New South Wales, where legislation states that it must be completely controlled and destroyed, and is prohibited in Western Australia until a weed risk assessment has been completed.

Conservation Status

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Caesalpinia decapetalaMysore Thorn, ShooflyShrub3.0 7-10  LMHNM022
Caesalpinia digynaTeri pods, UdakiryakaShrub10.0 10-12 FLMHNM022
Caesalpinia echinataPau Brasil, Brazil Wood, Indian SavinTree12.0 10-12 MLMHSNM024
Caesalpinia gilliesiiBird Of Paradise, Bird-of-paradise shrubShrub5.0 7-10  LMHNM01 
Caesalpinia sappanSappanwood. Rainbow woodTree7.0 10-12 FLMHNDM123
Caesalpinia spinosaSpiny Holdback, TaraTree6.0 9-11 FLMHSNM224

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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