Silver Cassia

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Description

Common names

Silver Cassia, Cassia, Punty.

Scientific names

Senna artemisioides subsp. x artemisioides, Cassia artemisioides.

Family

Caesalpinaceae.

Genus

Senna.

Name origin

Senna, from Arabic name. Artemisioides, from genus Artemisia and oides, like, referring to similarity.

Rainfall

200mm.

Growth rate

Fast.

Growth height

1-3m.

Presence in Australia

Widespread mainly west of the Olympic Highway in drier areas and lighter soils.

This specie has been identified in the following Australian states: Qld, NSW, ACT, Vic, SA, NT, WA.

Habitat

All three varieties are on inland plains. All except Silver Cassia also inhabit rocky slopes.

Habit

Small bushy shrubs, 1-3m high, with silver-grey leaves.

Site preference

Moderately well-drained soil, in full sun. Tolerates drought and frost, although heavy frost may damage tips.

Characteristics

Fast-growing. Short-lived. Three varieties tend to hybridise.

Flowering

Golden-yellow, winter and spring. Sweet scented.

Seed collection

Early Dec to mid Mar. Monitor closely as seeds shed immediately or 1-2 days after maturity.

Propagation

From scarified seed. Try boiling or hot water soaking treatment, and dry seed before sowing to prevent rotting. Also from cuttings.

Regeneration

Seeds readily. Establishes readily when direct seeded.

Shade and shelter

Useful low-level cover in windbreaks. Important component of understorey.

Land protection

Legume - improves soil fertility through "fixing" nitrogen.

Wildlife

Excellent habitat.

Ornamental

Ornamental for gardens or as low hedge. Attractive foliage and abundant flowers. Prune lightly after flowering to maintain shape (becomes straggly with age) and promote flowering.