Help with Cassia

lucas_tx_gwMarch 24, 2012

Hi all,

I know there have been some threads about which Cassia actually work as butterfly hosts and which don't and I'm also hoping maybe there are some other people now on the forum with experience with them.

I have a Cassia that was supposed to be a native but it's not and I'm trying to be sure I know which one it is, whether butterflies will use it and whether I have it properly sited.

I have photos of it in a thread in name this plant so I'll just link to that.



Here is a link that might be useful: Link to name that plant thread

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Unfortunately, Teri, I agree with the poster who said it was Cassia (or Senna) corymbosa. This plant is native to Argentina. I had one years ago, and never found a single sulphur egg on it.
Interestingly, the most widely used cassias in my area are C. obtusifolia/sicklepod, a very common weed of roadsides and pastures, and C. bicapsularis/Christmas cassia. Neither of these are native. The only native cassias I know of in this area are C. fasciculata/partridge pea and another "ferny" leaf type that I think is C. nictitans. These are common roadside plants, but I've never found a caterpillar on them or the partridge peas I've grown specifically for them. I guess this is a case where non-natives have become so common that they've supplanted the natives in popularity with the local sulphurs. Surely, if there was no Christmas cassia or sicklepod, they'd go back to using the natives? I wonder!
Butterfly gardeners in Florida have reported that their sulphurs like C. alata/candlestick cassia, but they only laid eggs on mine once, before the favorites had leafed out much, and I never found any caterpillars. I don't know if the eggs were duds, or if there was something about the C. alata leaves that killed them? C. alata is very cold tender, also, so I don't grow that one anymore.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 2:09PM
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In St. Louis, MO, Partridge Pea - an annual, and Senna marilandica - Wild Senna, a perennial both work as host plants.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 5:18PM
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Candlestick, Popcorn, and Christmas Cassia are all favorites here in Florida. There are others that are similiar to the Christmas Cassia that are used as well but I don't know the names of them. I know that the Partridge Pea is around here also and the small sulphurs use my Perennial Peanut groundcover also.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 6:48PM
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Both Cloudless Sulphur and Sleepy Oranges use my Senna bicapsularis, a non-native. I used to have Senna hebecarpa, which they also used. It is native to the US, but not Oklahoma. I know they also use Partridge Pea as well, and probably many other Sennas.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 8:01AM
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four(9B (near 9a))

> something about the C. alata leaves that killed them?

Not about the leaves. Rather ants. They adore Senna (yes) alata, for its extrafloral nectar.

> in Florida.... similiar to the Christmas Cassia... I don't know the names

In S.E. US, all or practically all individuals and businesses that think that they
bought /were given /are selling Senna bicapsularis
instead bought /were given /are selling Senna pendula var. glabrata.
S. bicapsularis has name Christmas "Cassia"[sic].
Thus S. pendula var glabrata also has name Christmas "Cassia"[sic].

    Bookmark   November 22, 2014 at 4:02PM
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