Senna spectabilis, better known by the vernacular names of Drooping Cassia and Crown of Gold Tree is native to North America (Mexico), Central and South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru), where it grows in the forests up to 20 m of altitude. Senna is the Latin form of an Arabic word for a thorny bush, while its species name spectabilis is Latin for ‘worth seeing’. Formally known as Cassia spectabilis, this tree flowers all year round, producing masses of bright yellow blossoms in large congested bunches of 15-60 cm long. The yellow flowers are held in dense racemes above the foliage. The fruits are narrow cylindrical pods, 10-40 cm long, turning blackish brown colour when mature. It contain numerous fl at brown seeds, of about 0.5 cm of diameter
Senna spectabilis is widely grown as an ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical areas and it is an evergreen small spreading tree that is useful for landscaping. Planting can be in large planters, parking lot islands or road and street shoulders. With its spreading crown, it gives good shade.
In its home country of Brazil Senna spectabilis has been commonly used in traditional medicine for many years. The Brazilian use it as medicine for the treatment of flu, cold and also as a laxative and purgative. The S. spectabilis extract is reported to possess various types of pharmacological activities. In Cameroon, this plant has been traditionally used to treat many conditions such as constipation, insomnia, epilepsy, and anxiety. In Thailand, Senna spectabilis is traditionally used for treating ringworm and skin diseases.
Scientific research has concluded that the extract of Senna spectabilis possesses anticonvulsant and sedative properties when tested on mice. This explains the use of Senna spectabilis in traditional medicines. Senna spectabilis can be propagated either by seeds or by cuttings.