Cassia obtusifolia L. - Coffee Weed, Sicklepod

Cassia obtusifolia plant

Family - Fabaceae

Stems - No info yet.

Cassia obtusifolia stem

Leaves - No info yet.

Cassia obtusifolia leaf

Inflorescence - No info yet.

Flowers - No info yet.

Cassia obtusifolia flowerFlower close-up.

Cassia obtusifolia calyxCalyx.

Cassia obtusifolia fruitFruit.

Flowering - July - September.

Habitat - Sandy alluvial soil, rocky open ground along streams, roadsides, open and waste ground.

Origin - Native to tropical America.

Other info. - This introduced and weedy species can be found in a handful of scattered Missouri counties. The plant is easy to identify becasue of its big leaflets, big yellow flowers, and sickle-shaped (falcate) fruits.
The seeds of this species were boiled and made into a tea which was used to treat headaches, fatigue, and stomachaches. The seeds are also used as a coffee substitute. A tea made from the fruits was used to treat headaches, herpes, and arthritis. African natives used the leaves to make a protein paste.
A nice lady from Africa sent me an email to let me know that she has been eating C. obtusifolia all her life. She serves it with eggs.
A modern synonym for this species is Senna obtusifolia (L.) H.S. Irwin & Barneby
Old synonyms included Emilista tora (L.) Britton & Rose and Cassia tora L. (both these names were apparently missapplied as C. tora may be a distinct species.)

Photographs taken off Moores Mill Road, Auburn, AL., 8-18-04 and 8-26-04.


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