Bushy Sennas

Bladder Senna Scorpion Senna Scorpion Senna Bladder Senna

What are they?

The word 'senna' is used for a variety of plants - usually with yellow flowers - in the pea family. Some are perennial and develop woody stems and usually shrubby growth and those are the species that are covered here. The original 'senna pods' were not tablets, but the pods from certain species of senna and a number of such plants have laxative qualities if eaten!

Where are they found?

There are no native species in this group and a number of them originate in warmer, even tropical climates. They often have showy flowers and unusual seed pods, making them of interest to gardeners, so plants in this group are most likely to be found as garden escapes in urban areas.

Identification

These bushy species can readily be identified by a combination of their pea-type flowers and details of the seed pods.



Bladder Senna      Colutea arborescens

Introduced from southern Europe. Occasionally self-seeds from garden plantings into neighbouring land. More or less established in a few places on rough ground in urban areas. Flowers May to July. A many-stemmed, suckering shrub to about two metres in height with pale, peeling bark. The seed pods expand like small bladders as they develop and often become reddish in colour.

Bladder Senna Bladder Senna Bladder Senna Bladder Senna
Habit
Habit
Flowers
Leaf
Bladder Senna Bladder Senna
Seed pod
Winter bud


Scorpion Senna      Hippocrepis emerus

Introduced from southern Europe. Occasionally grown as a garden plant and once found on a road verge in East Suffolk. Flowers May to July. A many-stemmed, open shrub to about 1.5 metres. The bean-like seed pods are segmented and have a distinct 'scorpion tail' at their tip.

Scorpion Senna Scorpion Senna Scorpion Senna
Habit
Habit
Flowers
Scorpion Senna Scorpion Senna
Leaf
Seed pods