Senna Species, American Sicklepod, Chinese Senna, Coffeeweed, Java-Bean

Senna obtusifolia

Family: Fabaceae (fab-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Senna (SEN-nuh) (Info)
Species: obtusifolia (ob-too-sih-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Cassia obtusifolia





Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


Unknown - Tell us


USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Gadsden, Alabama

Montgomery, Alabama

Weaver, Alabama

Barling, Arkansas

Menifee, California

San Diego, California

Apopka, Florida

Bartow, Florida

Bokeelia, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Grand Ridge, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida(2 reports)

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Satellite Beach, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida

Augusta, Georgia

Brunswick, Georgia

Dalton, Georgia

Powder Springs, Georgia

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Brooklyn, Maryland

Saucier, Mississippi

Salisbury, North Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Six Mile, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Magnolia, Texas

Bumpass, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 16, 2017, ivylady73 from Greensboro, NC wrote:

Have you heard of using this for Kudzu control? I'd want to make quite sure this is NOT another invasive species FIRST, though. Thoughts/experiences?


On Nov 17, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The University of Tennessee extension service has called this "one of the world's worst weeds." [[email protected]]

This species has been named in noxious-weed-seed legislation in 4 states: MS, TN, NC, and VA. Listed as rare in IN.

Senna/Cassia tora is the source of cassia gum used as a food thickener. S. tora and S. obtusifolia have been frequently confused in the literature.

Native (or perhaps naturalized) from VA to FL, west to TX and MO. Naturalized in CA and north to WI, NY, and MA. (BONAP)

This weed has a world-wide distribution today. It's believed to have originated in the American tropics and to have... read more


On Nov 17, 2016, C_A_Ivy from Barling, AR (Zone 7b) wrote:

An annual Senna that is a host plant for Sleepy Orange and Cloudless Sulphur butterflies.


On Sep 1, 2016, SecretMonkey from Salisbury, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

This lonely little spriglet popped up in my yard. After some research discovered its "who's it" and now am trying to decide if it stays or if it goes. I have no grazing animals for it to poison. Its quite a pretty yellow, which I imagine would look lovely with blue, red, orange or purple flowers. Does anyone know exactly how easily this spreads? It's in an area that usually gets mowed frequently, but I am considering letting this go to seed and spread a little to collect seeds and planting them in a big field behind my house. I think this is the first mention of it growing as far north as the NC piedmont. We have had an especially hot and muggy summer, maybe that's why it survived so far. Does it have any redeeming qualities besides color to overcome it's negatives? Fragrance? Longev... read more


On Sep 22, 2015, Solarray65 from Grand Ridge, FL wrote:

I am excited to have this plant and to learn more about its uses. I have read that it is a good protein replacement. I have been told that it is trecherous to cattle as it can puncture their guts. Seems to grow well near a soybean (another protein replacement plant) field. Easy to harvest beans when ripe for picking.


On Jun 6, 2008, 1cros3nails4gvn from Bluffton, SC (Zone 9a) wrote:

this plant is a weed and a native to the southeast. it is popping up all over my yard, but is not hard to control. when its not growing in my yard, i find it to be kind of nice looking with its leaves and yellow flowers.


On Aug 21, 2007, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

A pesky plant to rival ragweed in cultivated fields. It is said the the seeds are are the source of Cassia gum used as a food thickener. The seed can also be roasted and used as a substitute for coffee.