Botanical Name: Cassia grandis
Species: C. grandis
*Cassia brasiliana var. tomentosa Miq.
Common Names: Coral shower, Horse Cassia, Pink Shower Tree
Habitat: Cassia grandis is native to S. America – Brazil, Bolivia and Peru, north to the Caribbean and through Central America to Mexico. It grows on open forested hillsides or on thinly forested plains, often about dwellings or along roadsides and in pastures, at elevations below 900 metres.
Cassia grandis is a semi-deciduous, medium-sized tree with a rounded or spreading crown. It usually grows up to 20 metres tall with occasional specimens to 30 metres. The straight, cylindrical bole can be up to 1 metre in diameter.
Stem : Aerial, erect, woody, branched, cylindrical, solid.
Leaves : Paripinnately compound, leaflets 10-20, oblong, abruptly rounded at both ends. The terminal leaflets on the younger leaves have a coppery tinge which is very distinctive, the leaves are velvety to touch, hairy on both sides.
Inflorescence : Drooping racemes.
Pink coloured, ebracteate, complete.
Calyx of 5 sepals, corolla of 5 petals, subequal, clawed.
Stamens 5-10, unequal, some staminodes.
Fruit : A legume, small, flat, transversely wrinkled, seeds many.
Flowering and Fruiting Time : Feb – March
The plant is gathered from the wild, mainly for local medicinal use. When in flower, this is one of the most handsome trees of Central America, especially along the Pacific lowlands, reminding one of apple trees, by both the form of the tree and the colouring of the blossoms. It is often cultivated as an ornamental, being valued especially for its floral display.
A plant of the lowland moist tropics, found at elevations below 900 metres. It is found in areas where the mean annual rainfall is in the range 1,000 – 2,800 mm, and the mean annual temperature is 21 – 26°c with a mean maximum of 24 – 30°c and a mean minimum of 17 – 25°c
Prefers a sunny position. Succeeds in a wide range of soils.
The plant is common as an ornamental and gsrden escape in Malaysia, Java and New Guinea.
A fast-growing plant. The fruit takes 10 – 12 months to mature from flowering.
The pulp surrounding the seeds in the pods is edible. Sugary, but malodorous and has purgative properties if eaten in quantity.
The bitter fruit pulp is used as a laxative and purgative similar to C. fistula and reported to be more powerful. Drunk with milk, it is said to fight anaemia and add iron to the blood. The ripe pods and seeds are also used as a laxative.
A decoction of the leaves is used as a laxative and in the treatment of lumbago. The fresh juice of the leaves is used externally in the treatment of ringworm.
An ointment made from lard and the crushed leaves is employed commonly in treating cutaneous diseases, especially mange and other skin affections in dogs.
Agroforestry Uses: A fast-growing tree it can be used as a pioneer species when re-establishing woodland. The seeds are a potential commercial source of gums. Seed gum can be used as a binder for the pharmaceutical industry.
The ashes of the wood are employed in soap-making.
The wood is brownish yellow, rather hard and heavy, coarse-textured and not durable. A strong, multipurpose wood, it is used for building construction – mainly for internal finish, agricultural implements etc. It is also used for fence posts
The wood is used for fuel.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.