Wild Senna Seeds

bob_71(z7 MD)October 6, 2010

In keeping with the defined purpose of this site, I will try to provide some information on my experiences growing Wild Senna (Cassia hebecarpa) this year.

I bought a single bareroot plant of Wild Senna from Prairie Moon Nursery this spring. I planted it into a 5-gallon plastic pot. I drilled about five extra 1" holes one-quarter of the way up from the bottom of the pot and then planted the whole pot about 8" into the ground. I do this (pot and bury)to everything I plant as a defense against voles which are terrible here. Seems to work for me.

It has grown VERY well into a five foot specimen that had loads of yellow blooms and subsequently bore lots of seed pods. The leaves resemble the leaves of locust trees.

The plant has been recommended as a host plant for Little Sulphur. Sleepy Orange Sulphur and Cloudless Sulphur. As for me, this first year it served as a host plant for a smallish caterpillar that I strongly believe was a larva of the Gray Hairstreak but I can not be 100% sure of the identity. However, I only saw a very small number of yellow butterflies of any type this year. The only Sulphur to reach the E-close stage in my garden was a Clouded Sulphur that hosted "somewhere" and then found his way to a sedge plant where he pupated.

I harvested several hundred seeds yesterday and offer them to you at no charge in gratitude for all your kindness and help over this year.

Wild Senna (Cassia hebecarpa)is reported to grow from Georgia northward and west to Minnesota/Wisconsin. It is a perennial that is most productive in it's second year after which it diminishes in vigor. It is easy to self-seed but can be contained by harvesting the seed pods after they ripen but before they fall.

Please send an e-mail with your mailing address along with desired quantity.

Bob Anderson

Early in the season.

a back-lit shot of the seed pods in late July.

The dried pods on the bush in late September.

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bananasinohio(6OH)

I love, love this plant. I have both southern and northern, S. marylandica and S. herbacarpa respectively. They look about the same, just the extrafloral nectaries are shaped differently. I had one of the few cloudless sulphurs I saw this year lay on it. I swear she was saying "thank god!" as I am sure I am the only one growing this for miles around in my suburb.

These plants are gorgeous but do tend to form large colonies.

Nice pics as usual Bob!
-Elisabeth

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 7:09PM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Oh wow. What a generous offer. Thank you! I want some. It would be great to try another Senna. The only one I have here is Sicklepod Senna. I do always have loads of Sleepy Orange and Cloudless Sulphurs laying on it. It's cool that the Cloudless cats that eat the flowers are yellow and those that eat the leaves are green. I adore finding a yellow one! Beautiful pictures, as always.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 7:23AM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

To me, this is such a stunning plant when it is in full bloom. And, the Bumblebees absolutely adore it, too. I always get tons of Sleepy Oranges on it. Cloudless Sulphurs are kind of iffy here in the city - some years I get some and some years I don't. Didn't get any this year.

I grow mine in a huge wooden planter that is about 4' tall and 4' long and wide. It has never reseeded or anything, so to me it is well-behaved, unlike the Xmas Cassia, or Senna bicapsularis that I grow. Xmas Cassia is not winter hardy here, but it reseeds....prolifically! It really got out of hand this year, and next year I'm gonna have to watch that I don't let too many seedlings take off.

Great photos, Bob!

Susan

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 8:18PM
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imabirdnut

I will email you also...appreciate the offer for the seeds.
I am currently digging a new BF host garden that I am planning to plant perennial host flowers in & this will be a great addition! I currently have Cassia alata trees that an Orange Barred Sulphur laid eggs on but haven't seen any cats so far.
Love your photographs...they are amazing!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 8:51AM
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jaybirdy(5north/central Illinois)

I have read that some of the butterfly larva that feed on Senna actually bore into the seedpods and pupate in there over the winter.I'm going to be extra careful when I collect the seeds from my plant so as not to accidentally destroy any chrysalises.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 12:59PM
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