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Vascular Plants of California
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Senna armata

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to tree. Leaf: generally alternate, generally compound, generally stipuled, generally entire, pinnately veined Inflorescence: generally raceme, spike, umbel or head; or flowers 1--few in axils. Flower: generally bisexual, generally bilateral; hypanthium 0 or flat to tubular; sepals generally 5, generally fused; petals generally 5, free, fused, or lower 2 +- united into keel (see 3, Key to Groups, for banner, wings); stamens 10 or many (or [1], 5, 6, 7, 9), free or fused or 10 with 9 filaments at least partly fused, 1 (uppermost) free; pistil 1, ovary superior, generally 1-chambered, ovules 1--many, style, stigma 1. Fruit: legume, including a stalk-like base (above receptacle) or not. Seed: 1--many, often +- reniform, generally hard, smooth.
Genera In Family: +- 730 genera, 19400 species: worldwide; with grasses, requisite in agriculture, most natural ecosystems. Many cultivated, most importantly Arachis, peanut; Glycine, soybean; Phaseolus, beans; Medicago, alfalfa; Trifolium, clovers; many orns. Note: Unless stated otherwise, fruit length including stalk-like base, number of 2° leaflets is per 1° leaflet. Upper suture of fruit adaxial, lower abaxial. Anthyllis vulneraria L. evidently a waif, a contaminant of legume seed from Europe. Laburnum anagyroides Medik., collected on Mount St. Helena in 1987, may be naturalized. Ceratonia siliqua L., carob tree (Group 2), differs from Gleditsia triacanthos L. in having evergreen (vs deciduous) leaves that are 1-pinnate (vs 1-pinnate on spurs on old stems, 2-pinnate on new stems) with 2--5(8) (vs 7--17) 1° leaflets, commonly cultivated, now naturalized in southern California. Aeschynomene rudis Benth. , Halimodendron halodendron (Pall.) Voss (possibly extirpated), Lens culinaris Medik. are agricultural weeds. Caragana arborescens Lam. only cult. Ononis alopecuroides L. , Sphaerophysa salsula (Pall.) DC. all evidently extirpated. Cercidium moved to Parkinsonia; Chamaecytisus to Cytisus; Psoralidium lanceolatum to Ladeania.
eFlora Treatment Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Martin F. Wojciechowski, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: SennaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Perennial herb to tree, unarmed or main leaf axis a weak spine at tip or branches a weak thorn at tip. Leaf: even-1-pinnate, alternate; stipules small or not, ephemeral or not; leaflets 4--20(36). Inflorescence: axillary or terminal, raceme or panicle. Flower: generally +- bilateral, generally showy; sepals +- free; petals free, generally yellow; stamens free, 7 fertile, 3 sterile, or 10 fertile, anthers generally > filaments, opening by terminal pores. Fruit: dehiscent or not. Seed: few to many.
Etymology: (Arabic: Sana) Note: Some cultivated as orns; dried leaves of some cathartic, laxative.
eFlora Treatment Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski & Elizabeth McClintock
Reference: Randell & Barlow 1998 Fl Australia 12:89--138
Unabridged Reference: Irwin & Barneby 1982 Mem New York Bot Gard 35:1--918; Randell & Barlow 1998 Fl Australia 12:89--138
Senna armata (S. Watson) H.S. Irwin & Barneby
Habit: Shrub, armed, +- leafless most of year, +- glabrous. Stem: 0.5--1 m; branches from base, grooved, a weak thorn at tip or not, green. Leaf: stipules 0 or minute; leaflets 4--8, not overlapped, +- opposite, +- sessile, 4--6 mm, asymmetric, generally ovate, ephemeral; main axis elongating after leaflets fall, a weak spine at tip. Inflorescence: terminal raceme. Flower: petals 8--12 mm, obovate, yellow to salmon-red. Fruit: dehiscent, 2.5--4 cm, lanceolate, straight. Seed: few.
Ecology: Uncommon. Sandy or gravelly washes; Elevation: 100--1400 m. Bioregional Distribution: D; Distribution Outside California: Nevada, Arizona, Baja California. Flowering Time: Mar--Jul
Synonyms: Cassia armata S. Watson
Jepson eFlora Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski & Elizabeth McClintock
Reference: Randell & Barlow 1998 Fl Australia 12:89--138
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Senna armata

botanical illustration including Senna armata


Citation for this treatment: Martin F. Wojciechowski & Elizabeth McClintock 2012, Senna armata, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 08, 2023.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2023, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 08, 2023.

Senna armata
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Senna armata
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© 2010 Neal Kramer
Senna armata
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© 2009 Keir Morse
Senna armata
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© 2014 Neal Kramer
Senna armata
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© 2014 Barry Rice
Senna armata
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© 2022 California Academy of Sciences

More photos of Senna armata in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Senna armata:
1. You can change the display of the base map layer control box in the upper right-hand corner.
2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).